May 23, 2023 Volume 19 Issue 20

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Weird science: Why wavy wounds heal faster than straight ones

Wavy wounds heal faster than straight wounds because shapes influence cell movements, a team of researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) has found.

Using advanced imaging equipment on synthetic wounds that mimic the human skin, the NTU Singapore scientists observed the motion of cells and found that those near wavy shaped wounds moved in a swirling manner, while cells near straight wounds moved in straight lines, traveling parallel to the edges.

The NTU team concluded that the swirling or vortex-like movement is crucial to "gap bridging," in which cells build bridges to heal damaged tissues, and which accelerates the wound healing process in wavy wounds.

These time-lapse, phase-contrast images show different wound-healing stages of the engineered synthetic wounds created by NTU Singapore researchers. The wound gap is 30 micrometers wide. Cells around wavy gaps formed bridges (highlighted in bright red) to close the gap quickly by the 42nd hour, compared to cells in the straight wound where healing has just begun.





This is the first time that the relationship between gap bridging and the speed of wound healing has been determined.

The findings by the research team open the door to the development of more effective strategies to speed up wound healing for better wound management, tissue repair, and plastic surgery.

It's an interesting finding about an effect you may have experienced yourself.

Source: Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore)

Published May 2023

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