Chronic wounds are thought to be caused, in part, by the presence and persistence of aerobic microbes that deplete the local oxygen concentration and prevent or slow the rate of oxygen-dependent healing. Atmospheric-pressure gas plasmas have been shown to be strong bactericidal agents and there is evidence that plasma treatment can safely kill bacteria in wounds and speed wound healing. In this study, we adapted a six-species reaction-diffusion model of epithelial wound healing and used it to predict the efficacy of various plasma treatment protocols. We assume that the only effect of plasma application to the wound is to reduce the bacterial load and that this in turn reduces the bacterial oxygen consumption in the wound. The model follows the spatial and temporal concentration or density profiles within the wound of oxygen, chemoattractants, capillary sprouts, blood vessels, fibroblasts and extracellular matrix material. We highlight the importance of the effects of plasma application on the rate of bacterial regrowth in the wound. Even a relatively large initial reduction in the bacterial wound population may not be sufficient for improved healing if bacterial regrowth is not limited. Although it is clear that current efforts to model wound healing in general and the effects of plasma in particular are in their early stage, the present results suggest several important directions for coupling plasma models with models of tissue biochemical responses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films