Electric stimulation may have the ability to help blood vessels carry white blood cells and oxygen to wounds thus accelerates the healing process, according to a new study conducted by Ohio State University.
As per the study published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Lab, it was found that a stable electrical stimulation can increase the permeability across blood vessels, a vital characteristic that can help wound-healing substances in the blood to reach injuries more efficiently. This provides new insight into the ways new blood vessels might grow.
The senior author of the study and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Ohio State University, Shaurya Prakash says that there was speculation that blood vessels could grow better if it is stimulated electrically. The response of the cells in our blood vessel models during the study shows significant promise towards changing the permeability of the vessels that can help in wound healing.
How blood vessels aid in wound healing
Blood vessels thread throughout our body, carrying nutrients, cells and chemicals that can help control inflammation caused by an injury. Oxygen and white blood cells, which protect the body from foreign invaders, are the two key elements carried by blood vessels.
When an injury occurs, for example, a cut on the finger, the blood vessels at the wound site get disturbed, which would interrupt the vessels’ ability to help the wound heal. Even though blood vessels can regrow on their own without external sources, the scientists were trying to find a way to make the process faster and better.
In laboratory tests performed using human cells, the researchers found that by stimulating blood vessels with electricity there was a striking increase in blood vessel permeability, which is a physical marker suggestive of possible new vessel growth.
Jon Song, the co-author of the paper and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Ohio State, says that the results indicate one of the primary ways blood vessels work to heal injuries is by enabling molecules and cells to move across the vessels’ walls. And now we have a better understanding of how electrical stimulation can change the permeability across the vessel walls.
Even though the study suggested that changes in blood vessel permeability could get blood-borne cells to a wound site more quickly, it did not explain the reasons why that happened. The study is an extension of work by a broader team, that previously showed electric bandages could help stimulate healing in wounded dogs.