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The Benefits of
The Thione Complex™ for Burn Wounds
Wendy Barkin, Esq., V.P.
When cutaneous tissues are exposed to radiation or burns from chemical
and thermal injuries, damage to the skin ensues. While there are
numerous ways in which the skin may be injured through burns such
as environmentally, traumatically, surgically, dermatologically
or as complications of vascular diseases, the skin’s reaction
to such trauma as well as its repair process is generally the same
regardless of the cause of the damage. Following radiation, however,
free radical damage ensues when water molecules contained within
cells are altered and lipids of membranes or extracellular tissues
are injured. In addition, there is a marked inflammatory cell response
in the affected tissues which releases more free radicals, enhancing
the inflammation and tissue damage. Concomitantly, epidermal cells
become depleted of vital free radical destroyers known as antioxidants,
resulting in cell injury and cell death and breaks in DNA. This
condition is known as oxidative stress.
Normally, the skin’s surface has a well-developed endogenous
antioxidant defense system to combat free radicals, including the
key antioxidant, glutathione (in its reduced form) and the enzymes
superoxide dismutase, catalase and the selenium-dependent glutathione
peroxidase. Also present are vitamins C and E. Since glutathione
depletion in cells usually precedes cell injury and cell death,
increases in intracellular glutathione are particularly beneficial
in protecting the skin and in the skin repair process. However,
glutathione cannot work alone.
Glutathione protects cells from free radical damage by itself being
oxidized. Thus, it must act in combination with other enzyme systems
in order to be reduced back to a useful state and renew its role
as a free radical scavenger. For example, glutathione coordinates
with glutathione peroxidase to break down hydrogen peroxide and
lipid hydroperoxides, but glutathione peroxidase requires selenium
as a cofactor to exert its biologic antioxidant function. Selenium
compounds have been shown to scavenge oxygen-centered radicals in
vivo with reduced glutathione through glutathione peroxidase. It
is believed that selenium-glutathione peroxidase catalyzes toxic
hydrogen peroxide in the presence of reduced glutathione. This reaction
reduces glutathione to oxidized glutathione. In turn, the oxidized
glutathione is reduced back to glutathione by the enzyme glutathione
reductase, thereby constantly maintaining abundant cellular glutathione
to scavenge free radicals anew. In short, the glutathione and selenium
antioxidant functions are intrinsically related since by keeping
a peroxidase in action, glutathione and selenium contribute to the
removal of hydrogen peroxide and related molecules.
Extensive inflammation is an acute-phase organ response induced
by burns. Free radical production is associated with inflammation.
Increased circulating lipid peroxides have been reported in burn
patients. Supplemental oral antioxidants have been shown to have
beneficial clinical effects and shorten hospitalization of patients
with burns. Antioxidants also have site-specific functions, thereby
providing improved and accelerated wound repair.
Normal regeneration of the epidermis after injury for healing of
wounds requires mitosis and migration of the epidermal cells from
residual epidermal appendages within the wound as well as from the
intact epithelium surrounding the injury. Acceleration of epidermal
regeneration may be enhanced by various growth factors. Thus, growth
factors may be used in combination with an antioxidant preparation
to enhance epidermal repair and wound healing.
Zinc, the second most abundant trace metal in the human body and
present in all living cells and body secretions, plays a prominent
role in the reconstruction of the wound matrix. It is necessary
for cross-linking of collagen fibers in the skin repair process.
Although it probably plays a role in all stages of healing, zinc
concentrations increase at the margins of the wound during the formation
of granulation tissue, re-epithelialization and normalization periods.
In fact, the concentrations of zinc in the margins of the wound
during repair are 15-20% higher than in contiguous intact skin and
are provided from zinc in blood. Since zinc has been shown to be
of value in the skin healing process, the addition of zinc salts
to an antioxidant preparation will enhance the skin repair process.
In summary, the Thione Complex™ is based primarily on the
synergistic antioxidant combination of glutathione and selenium
(in the form of selenoamino acid). These antioxidants work together
to significantly diminish free radical damage and the accompanying
inflammatory reaction, thereby accelerating the healing of burns.
Additional benefits such as skin repair and wound healing could
be gained by combining these synergistic antioxidants with reparative
growth factors and/or zinc salts. The Thione Complex™ is available
for topical applications in creams, lotions and ointments.
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