A study published online in The FASEB Journal delves
into the mystifying fact that wounds in your mouth
heal faster and more efficiently than wounds
Until now, it was understood that saliva played a
part in the wound healing process, though the extent
of its role was unknown.
The study examined the effects of salivary peptide
histatin-1 on angiogenesis (blood vessel formation),
which is critical to the efficiency of wound
Researchers found that histatin-1 promotes
angiogenesis, as well as cell adhesion and
"These findings open new alternatives to better
understand the biology underlying the differences
between oral and skin wound healing," said Vicente
A. Torres, Ph.D., associate professor at the
Institute for Research in Dental Sciences within the
Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Chile in
"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 three levels: (1)
endothelial, or blood vessel-forming, cells in
culture, (2) chicken embryos as animal models, and
(3) saliva samples obtained from healthy donors.
Using these three 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, Ph.D.,
Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal.
For more information
The salivary peptide histatin-1 promotes endothelial
cell adhesion, migration, and angiogenesis.
Pedro Torres, Jorge Díaz, Maximiliano Arce, Patricio
Silva, Pablo Mendoza, Pablo Lois, Alfredo Molina-Berríos,
Gareth I. Owen, Verónica Palma, and Vicente A.
FASEB - Federation of American Societies for