Oxygen, pH, Lactate, and Metabolism-How Old Knowledge and New Insights Might Be Combined for New Wound Treatment.

Publication from Coremed

Haller HL, Sander F, Popp D, Rapp M, Hartmann B, Demircan M, Nischwitz SP, Kamolz LP

Medicina (Kaunas) , 11/2021


Over time, we have come to recognize a very complex network of physiological changes enabling wound healing. An immunological process enables the body to distinguish damaged cells and begin a cleaning mechanism by separating damaged proteins and cells with matrix metalloproteinases, a complement reaction, and free radicals. A wide variety of cell functions help to rebuild new tissue, dependent on energy provision and oxygen supply. Like in an optimized “bio-reactor,” disturbance can lead to prolonged healing. One of the earliest investigated local factors is the pH of wounds, studied in close relation to the local perfusion, oxygen tension, and lactate concentration. Granulation tissue with the wrong pH can hinder fibroblast and keratinocyte division and proliferation, as well as skin graft takes. Methods for influencing the pH have been tested, such as occlusion and acidification by the topical application of acidic media. In most trials, this has not changed the wound’s pH to an acidic one, but it has reduced the strong alkalinity of deeper or chronic wounds. Energy provision is essential for all repair processes. New insights into the metabolism of cells have changed the definition of lactate from a waste product to an indispensable energy provider in normoxic and hypoxic conditions. Neovascularization depends on oxygen provision and lactate, signaling hypoxic conditions even under normoxic conditions. An appropriate pH is necessary for successful skin grafting; hypoxia can change the pH of wounds. This review describes the close interconnections between the local lactate levels, metabolism, healing mechanisms, and pH. Furthermore, it analyzes and evaluates the different possible ways to support metabolism, such as lactate enhancement and pH adjustment. The aim of wound treatment must be the optimization of all these components. Therefore, the role of lactate and its influence on wound healing in acute and chronic wounds will be assessed.