New research published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine investigates the process by which aspirin inhibits wound healing. The study focuses on how this NSAID acts on key skin cells called keratinocytes, delaying skin repair at wound sites. A better understanding of this process offers hope for the development of drugs to encourage wounds to heal.
Aspirin has a known capacity to promote bleeding events, and is also linked to the inhibition of wound healing. Wound healing is a complex process that is dependent on the restoration of the epithelial, or outermost layer of the skin, over the wound surface. Skin cells called keratinocytes play an important role in this process; when keratinocyte migration across the wound is defective, wounds such as diabetic ulcers cannot heal and become chronic. The researchers found that a high dose aspirin regimen reduces the production of a molecule, 12-HHT that enhances the migration of keratinocytes. In addition to reinforcing cautions about aspirin use in patients with chronic wounds, the findings may point to new pathways for the development of more effective wound healing therapies. Read a news story about the research here.