Copper has two key properties that endow it as an excellent active ingredient to be used in the “wound healing battle”.
First, copper plays a key role in angiogenesis, dermal fibroblasts proliferation, upregulation of collagen and elastin fibers production by dermal fibroblasts, and it serves as a cofactor of Lysyl oxidase needed for efficient dermal extracellular matrix (ECM) protein cross-linking.
Secondly, copper has potent wide-spectrum biocidal properties. Both gram-positive and gramnegative bacteria, including antibiotic resistant bacteria and hard to kill bacterial spores, fungi and viruses, when exposed to high copper concentrations, are killed.
Copper has been used as a biocide for centuries by many different civilizations. Impregnation of copper oxide microparticles in wound dressings allows continuous release of copper ions. This results not only in the protection of the wounds and wound dressings from pathogens, but more importantly, enhances wound healing. The article discusses the molecular mechanisms of enhanced wound healing by the copper oxide impregnated dressings, which include in situ upregulation of pro-angiogenic factors and increased blood vessel formation. It also includes clinical cases showing clearance of infection, induction of granulation and epithelialization of necrotic wounds, reduction of post-operative swelling inflammation and reduction of scar formation, in wounds when they were treated with copper oxide impregnated dressings. We show the positive outcome at all wound healing stages of using the copper impregnated wound dressings, indicating the neglected critical role copper plays in wound healing.
Authors: Gadi Borkow, Eyal Melamed.