Honey has sweet potential for wound healing, scientists claim


Honig hat ein süßes Potenzial für die Wundheilung, argumentieren Wissenschaftler

Important antimicrobial components of honey. (A) Sucrose from flowers is broken down into glucose and fructose by the bee. The bee’s hypopharyngeal glands secrete GOx. Glucose is then oxidized by the oxidized form of GOx, resulting in the production of gluconolactone/gluconic acid and H2O2. Most of honey’s antimicrobial activity comes from H2O2, killing pathogens through DNA damage and multiple cellular targets. (B) Honey is acidic with an average pH of 3.91 (between 3.4 and 6.1), making it strong against microbial strains with an optimal pH growth around 7. The acid mainly comes from gluconolactone/gluconic acid. (C) Bee Def-1 is an antibacterial peptide derived from the bee hypopharyngeal gland. It works by interfering with bacterial adhesion to a surface, or in the early biofilm stage by inhibiting the growth of adherent cells; and by altering the production of extracellular polymeric substances. (GB) MGO is formed in honey during storage by the non-enzymatic conversion of dihydroxyacetone, a saccharide found in high concentrations in the nectar of Leptospermum flowers. The antimicrobial activity of MGO is attributed to changes in bacterial fimbriae and flagella that impede the attachment and motility of the bacterium. (E) Honey is a supersaturated sugar solution. The strong interaction between these sugars and water molecules prevents the abundance of free water molecules (low water activity) from being available for microbial growth. (F) The combination of different phenols enhances the antimicrobial effectiveness of honey. Under alkaline conditions (pH 7.0–8.0), polyphenols can exhibit pro-oxidant properties and inhibit microbial growth by accelerating hydroxyl radical formation and oxidative strand breakage in DNA. They could also produce significant amounts of H2O2 via a non-enzymatic route. Recognition: pharmacy (2022). DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics14081663

Honey has exceptional antimicrobial and tissue-regenerating properties that should be fully exploited to aid in wound healing, say Manchester University scientists.

Her reviews of more than 250 articles spanning 85 years – with the oldest article dating from 1937 – are published in the journal pharmacy.

According to the researchers, the sweet substance offers an alternative to conventional antimicrobial drugs, which are becoming increasingly ineffective in the face of growing resistance. However, more work is needed, the researchers say, to identify and quantify the compounds that give honey its antimicrobial and wound-healing properties, making it more reliable and standardized.

Honey has been used as a topical application to wounds primarily for its antibacterial properties, derived from its ability to form hydrogen peroxide and the presence of other active ingredients. Compounds include phenols, defensin-1 and methylglyoxal (found in manuka honey). Its acidity and low water availability also contribute to honey’s healing properties. Its stickiness also provides an effective hydrated barrier between the wound site and the outside environment.

A variety of wound types, the researchers report, have been treated with honey, such as burns, trauma and chronic wounds. Mesitran, one of the first product lines in the UK to contain medicinal grade honey, was launched in Manchester in 2005. Other companies followed over the years. In recent years, research has focused on the use of honey in tissue engineering applications.

Things like electrospun nanofibers, hydrogels and cryogels, foams, films, powders, cements, and bioinks have been used to create honey-based scaffolds. And some studies have shown that antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be more susceptible to antibiotics when used with honey.

In an article they cite, they worked together when methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was exposed to manuka honey in combination with oxacillin to desensitize the MRSA to the antibiotic. Honey’s antimicrobial activity also includes its ability to kill or slow the spread of fungi and viruses.

However, the use of honey in combination with traditional wound dressings has some limitations, e.g. B. Absorption through the dressing, poor penetration into the wound site and short-term antimicrobial activity. However, manufacturers of impregnated dressings are trying to improve their delivery mechanism to improve the effectiveness of the substance.

Lead scientist Joel Yupanqui Mieles, a postgraduate researcher at the University of Manchester, says that “honey has exciting antimicrobial properties and has been used in traditional medicine to treat wounds since ancient times”.

“The ancient Egyptians used it to treat wounds and there are direct references to honey consumption in the Bible and Quran.”

“The compounds in honey offer a range of potential antimicrobial and regenerative agents that can be used to combat antibiotic resistance and aid in tissue healing.”

“But while the collection of compounds in honey can have immense medicinal benefits, more research is needed to understand more about how they work and how to effectively and safely deliver them to wounds in a standardized manner.”

He added that “knowing the type and composition of honey used in different types of wounds will also improve the quality of research.” This allows scientists to make the most of honey’s antimicrobial and healing mechanisms. It might even allow us to artificially replicate these in honey.”-inspired biomaterials that can be exploited with current advances in tissue engineering technology. This would minimize processing risks related to sterilization, storage, transportation, and determination of authenticity and security.”

“One thing is for sure: Rising global antibiotic resistance is stimulating the development of novel therapies as alternatives to fight infection – and we believe honey has a role to play in this. People who are concerned about a wound should not treat themselves with honey without first consulting a doctor.”


Scientists on the hunt for medicinal liquid gold


More information:
Joel Yupanqui Mieles et al., Honey: An Advanced Antimicrobial and Wound Healing Biomaterial for Tissue Engineering Applications, pharmacy (2022). DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics14081663

Provided by the University of Manchester

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