Exudates from non-healing wounds contain elevated levels of proteolytic enzymes, like elastase from polymorphonuclear granulocytes (PMN elastase), reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS). The overproduction of proteolytic enzymes leads to reduced concentrations of growth factors and proteinase inhibitors, resulting in an imbalance between degradation and remodelling processes. Thus, the reduction of protein-degrading enzymes and scavenging of ROS and RNS seem to be suitable ways to support the healing process of chronic stagnating wounds. The aim of this study was to test selected wound dressings from different biomaterials (collagen, oxidized regenerated cellulose (ORC) and ORC/collagen mixture), regarding their antioxidative potential in vitro and their influence on the concentration and activity of PMN elastase in chronic wound fluid. Antioxidant capacity of the investigated wound dressing was determined by a pholasin-based chemiluminescent assay. PMN elastase concentration was determined by means of ELISA. Enzyme activities could be measured by a fluorescence assay. As the presented data demonstrates, all tested materials showed antioxidant capacity. In addition, the investigated materials were able to reduce the concentration and activity of PMN elastase. Beside other aspects, such as biocompatibility, biodegradability, fluid absorption and clinical effects (e.g. angiogenesis and microcirculation), the understanding of these properties may help to support the further refinement of wound dressings for improved wound healing. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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