Thiamine and wound healing

Although most of the research regarding thiamine deficiency has focused on the role it plays in the TCA cycle and ATP synthesis, some work has analyzed its role in wound healing. In a study done by Ostrovskii and Nikitin9 using hypovitaminotic white mice as experimental models, thiamine deficiency was induced by feeding a thiamine-deficient diet for 30 d or by supplying animals with a thiamine antagonist

(oxythiamine) for the same period of time. When this type of deficiency was produced in mice and then followed by mechanical trauma, a delay in necrotic mass resorption was noted 2 to 3 d after the trauma. An inhibition in the reparative process was also recorded. This effect on both resorption and repair was shown to be associated with a decrease in macrocytic activity. Macrocyte cytoplasm was shown to have a decreased volume fraction of both lysosomes and phagosomes. Differentiation of fibroblasts was also delayed in these animals. It was proposed that these alterations in macrophages played a major role in delayed wound healing.

Thiamine's impact on wound repair has also been studied using rat models. Alvarez and Gilbreath10 showed that inadequate thiamine intake also leads to a decrease in the tensile strength of wounds in thiamine-deficient animals. The focus of this study was on the breaking strength of excised wounds, the isometric shrink tension of skin, and the lysyl oxidase activity of both normal and repairing skin. Lysyl oxidase was analyzed, because it controls one of the initial steps in the cross-linking of elastin and collagen. Three groups of rats were fed either a thiamine-deficient diet or a thiamine-deficient diet that was supplemented with either 1 or 3 mg of thiamine HCl. Deficiency was established via measurement of urinary thiamine concentrations, and at this time, the animals were wounded. Ten days later, significant differences were noted in both isometric shrink tension and breaking strength of all three groups. Lysyl oxidase activity was significantly different between control animals and those provided with 1 mg of thiamine HCL.

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