Wounds inside the mouth heal faster and more efficiently than wounds elsewhere on the body. Now, scientists from the Institute for Research in Dental Sciences within the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Chile in Santiago have found that salivary peptide histatin-1 promotes angiogenesis (blood vessel formation), which is critical to the efficiency of wound healing, as well as cell adhesion and migration.
“These findings open new alternatives to better understand the biology underlying the differences between oral and skin wound healing,” said associate professor and study co-author Vicente A. Torres, PhD. “We believe that the study could help the design of better approaches to improve wound healing in tissues other than the mouth.”
The study involved experiments at 3 levels: endothelial, or blood vessel-forming, cells in culture; chicken embryos as animal models; and saliva samples obtained from healthy donors. Using these 3 models, histatin-1 and saliva were found to increase blood vessel formation. Researchers are now taking the next step in this line of study, using these molecules to generate materials and implants to aid in wound healing.
“The clear results of the present study open a wide door to a therapeutic advance. They also bring to mind the possible meaning of animals, and often children, ‘licking their wounds,’” said Thoru Pederson, PhD, editor in chief of The FASEB Journal, which published the study, “The Salivary Peptide HIstatin-1 Promotes Endothelia Cell Adhesion, Migration, and Angiogenesis.”