Improved identification of war wound infections promises more successful treatment

May 29, 2014

War wounds that heal successfully frequently contain different microbial species from those that heal poorly, according to a paper published ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. These and other findings have important implications for improving wound healing, says first author Nicholas Be of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California.

The problem the researchers were addressing is that culture-based identification, which has been used to assay war , misses the many species that are difficult or impossible to culture. But Be and his collaborators posited that using microarrays and whole to detect in wound samples would reveal infections caused by microbes that cannot be cultured, as these molecular methods can detect all species for which reference DNA is available.

"We also hypothesized that different microorganisms could be associated with successful or unsuccessful healing, and we felt that this information could be used for guiding medical treatment," says Be.

In the study, the investigators found that genetic sequences from certain bacteria, including Pseudomonas species and Acinetobacter baumannii, were frequently observed in that failed to heal, while bacteria typically associated with the gastrointestinal system, such as E. coli and Bacteroides species, were found in wounds that did heal successfully.

"This surprising finding further emphasizes the need for specific molecular detection," says Be. "We also observed via whole genome sequencing that the complex microbial populations present in wounds vary between patients and change over time in a single patient, further emphasizing the need for personalized treatment of individual wounds."

The investigators examined 124 wound samples from 61 wounds in 44 patients injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. They used a microbial detection microarray developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which contains DNA probes capable of detecting any microorganisms that have previously been sequenced.

"This represents a cost-effective, high-throughput platform for analysis of wound infections," says Be. A subset of samples was also subjected to whole genome sequencing.

"Information on the presence of specific bacteria that more significantly affect the success of the healing response could guide therapy and allow for more accurate prediction of outcome," says Be. "More effective, specific, and timely diagnosis of infection would improve treatment, accelerate rehabilitation, and decrease the length of hospital stays."

The manuscript can be found online. The final version of the article is scheduled for the July 2014 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Explore further: Bacteria on the skin: New insights on our invisible companions

Related Stories

Bacteria on the skin: New insights on our invisible companions

April 29, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—A University of Manchester study examines how skin-dwelling bacteria influence wound healing - findings could help address chronic wounds, a common ailment in the elderly.

Understanding aspirin's effect on wound healing offers hope for treating chronic wounds

May 12, 2014
In addition to its known capacity to promote bleeding events, aspirin also inhibits wound healing. New research published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine now describes how aspirin acts on key skin cells called keratinocytes, ...

Researchers explain why some wound infections become chronic

December 17, 2013
Chronic wounds affect an estimated 6.5 million Americans at an annual cost of about $25 billion. Further, foot blisters and other diabetic ulcers or sores account for the vast majority of foot and leg amputations in the United ...

Promising role for interleukin-10 in scarless wound healing

May 8, 2014
The powerful anti-inflammatory compound interleukin-10 (IL-10) plays a crucial role in regenerative, scarless healing of fetal skin. Studies of IL-10 in postnatal skin wounds have demonstrated its promise as an anti-scarring ...

Vibration may help heal chronic wounds

March 31, 2014
Wounds may heal more quickly if exposed to low-intensity vibration, report researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

New finding may help accelerate diabetic wound healing

October 30, 2013
University of Notre Dame researchers have, for the first time, identified the enzymes that are detrimental to diabetic wound healing and those that are beneficial to repair the wound.

Recommended for you

A sodium surprise: Engineers find unexpected result during cardiac research

July 20, 2017
Irregular heartbeat—or arrhythmia—can have sudden and often fatal consequences. A biomedical engineering team at Washington University in St. Louis examining molecular behavior in cardiac tissue recently made a surprising ...

Want to win at sports? Take a cue from these mighty mice

July 20, 2017
As student athletes hit training fields this summer to gain the competitive edge, a new study shows how the experiences of a tiny mouse can put them on the path to winning.

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

July 19, 2017
Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

Engineered liver tissue expands after transplant

July 19, 2017
Many diseases, including cirrhosis and hepatitis, can lead to liver failure. More than 17,000 Americans suffering from these diseases are now waiting for liver transplants, but significantly fewer livers are available.

Lunatic Fringe gene plays key role in the renewable brain

July 19, 2017
The discovery that the brain can generate new cells - about 700 new neurons each day - has triggered investigations to uncover how this process is regulated. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Jan and Dan Duncan ...

New animal models for hepatitis C could pave the way for a vaccine

July 19, 2017
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of hepatitis C—a disease that affects nearly 71 million people worldwide, causing cirrhosis and liver cancer if left untreated—it might be worth ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.