Burns are one of the leading causes of morbidity worldwide and the most costly traumatic injuries. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms in wound healing is required to accelerate tissue recovery and reduce the health economic impact. However, the standard techniques used to evaluate the biological events associated to wound repair are laborious, time-consuming, and/or require multiple assays/staining. Therefore, this study aims to evaluate the feasibility of Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy to monitor the progress and healing status of burn wounds. Burn injuries were induced on Wistar rats by water vapor exposure and biopsied for further histopathological and spectroscopic evaluation at four time-points (3, 7, 14, and 21 days). Spectral data were preprocessed and compared by principal component analysis. Pairwise comparison of post-burn groups to each other revealed that metabolic activity induced by thermal injury decreases as the healing progresses. Higher amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids were evidenced on days 3 and 7 compared to healthy skin and reduced amounts of these molecular structural units on days 14 and 21 post-burn. FT-IR spectroscopy was used to determine the healing status of a wound based on the biochemical information retained by spectral signatures in each phase of healing. Our findings demonstrate that FT-IR spectroscopy can monitor the biological events triggered by burn trauma as well as to detect the wound status including full recovery based on the spectral changes associated to the biochemical events in each phase.
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