It is not only in the time of Covid-19 that we’re supposed to wash our hands frequently in order to remove viruses, bacteria, and pathogens. This, we’re told, plays a crucial role in preventing wound infection and promoting wound healing. Last summer, the University of Tübingen published a study which, while not negating the preceding predication, put the relevance of bacteria for wound healing into perspective. According to this study, our normal healthy skin flora with its natural bacterial diversity functioned – as frequently stated on this website – as our body’s outer protective shield.
The research group of Friedrich Götz, a professor for microbiology, discovered in tests with mice a natural process which contributes to this protective role. In the study, it is said that “a crucial role is played by small amounts of amines called trace amines which are produced by various species of the genus Staphylococcus. They counteract the substances released during […] an injury to the skin, accelerating wound healing.”
Only a small number of these trace amines are present in our bodies, but – according to the study – various species of Staphylococcus bacteria are able to produce them. One is the potentially pathogenic bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, which is considered to factor in atopic eczema.
The press release of the University of Tübingen continues to explain that when the skin is injured, adrenaline is produced which, “by activating a specific receptor, leads to an inhibition of cell mobility. This renders them unable to clot quickly at the open wound to close it.”
The trace amines cancel this effect of the adrenaline, accelerating wound healing. Going forward, the distinction between the different pathogenic (disease-causing) and commensal (healthy, beneficial) effects and kinds of a bacterial specifies will have to be even more finely drawn.
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