α-Lipoic acid (LA) has been found previously to accelerate wound repair in patients affected by chronic wounds who underwent hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy. Because proteinases are important in wound repair, we hypothesized that LA may regulate matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression in cells that are involved in wound repair. Patients undergoing HBO therapy were double-blind randomized into two groups: the LA group and the placebo group. Gene expression profiles for MMPs and for angiogenesis mediators were evaluated in biopsies collected at the first HBO session, at the seventh HBO session, and after 14 days of HBO treatment. ELISA tests were used to validate microarray expression of selected genes. LA supplementation in combination with HBO therapy downregulated the inflammatory cytokines and the growth factors which, in turn, affect MMPs expression. The disruption of the positive autocrine feedback loops that maintain the chronic wound state promotes progression of the healing process.
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