Sunday, October 25, 2009

Honey Accelerates Wound Healing Process

Effect of Honey and Its Major Royal Jelly Protein 1 on Cytokine and MMP-9 mRNA Transcripts in Human Keratinocytes
Exp Dermatol, 2009 Oct 21

Honey has been used since ancient times as a remedy in wound healing. However, even though the results from randomized clinical trials document that honey accelerates wound healing, no study dealing with its influence on human skin cells (epidermal keratinocytes and dermal fibroblast) has been performed.

We demonstrate that keratinocytes, which are known to be involved in wouAdd Imagend healing, are responsible for elevated production of mediators including cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-1beta and TGF-beta) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) after incubation with honey. Real-time PCR was performed for the quantification of mRNA level of selected cytokines and MMP-9. Furthermore, we show that the increased level of MMP-9 in the epidermis following incubation with honey leads to degradation of type IV collagen in the basement membrane.

These data indisputably demonstrate that honey activates keratinocytes and support the findings that honey may accelerate wound healing process.


…The stimulation of MMP-9 expression was demonstrated in skin after incubation with honey. Most of the staining was associated with epidermal keratinocytes. Staining was also detected in the basal layer of keratinocytes as well as intra-dermal glandular structures. MMP-9 is able to activate cytokines such as TGF-b, IL-1b and TNF-a from their pro-forms, and thus stimulate its own secretion by keratinocytes (34). Honey also promotes collagen type IV degradation in the basement membrane. In addition, honey promotes secretion of MMP-9 in inactive form what was proved by gelatinolytic zymography (data not shown).

In conclusion, our results show that honey activates human keratinocytes, with the up-regulation of expression of certain cytokines (TNF-a, IL-1b and TGF-b) and MMP-9. We have demonstrated that honey markedly promotes collagen type IV degradation through MMP-9 stimulation in the skin.

Honey and MRJP1 at tested concentrations are able to induce proliferation of human keratinocytes (data not shown), but further studies are needed to reveal factors and molecular mechanisms participating at keratinocytes activation by honey. Such factors could have the potential to act as novel therapeutic agent(s) and target(s) for treatment of wounds.

However, new techniques and therapies for wound care such as stem cell therapy (35–37) have been discovered, honey represents natural inexpensive and effective product for wound care.

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