Scientists have identified a component in human saliva that speeds up the process of wound healing, and can be easily produced in mass quantities in a lab. The protien is called histatin and was thought only to be an antibacterial until scientists were able to isolate it in a lab setting. They compared petri dishes containing cheek epithelial cells with an induced “wound”. One petri dish had histatin and the other did not. After 16 hours, the histatin bathed wound was almost completely closed, whereas the other still had a significant open portion.
This could be the reason why animals continue to lick their wounds and why cuts and sores in our mouth heal more quickly than external sores (except when you continue to bite the same swollen spot – Ouch!).
These scientists from the Federation of American Societies For Experimental Biology have great hopes to develop histatin to treat stubborn diabetic wounds and foot ulcers.
The full press release can be found at Eureka Alert .
It is to be published in the November 2008 edition of FASEB Journal.