Venous leg ulcers represent a clinical challenge and impair the quality of life of patients. This study examines impaired wound healing in venous leg ulcers at the molecular level. Protein expression patterns for biomarkers were analysed in venous leg ulcer wound fluids from 57 patients treated with a protease-modulating polyacrylate wound dressing for 12 weeks, and compared with exudates from 10 acute split-thickness wounds. Wound healing improved in the venous leg ulcer wounds: 61.4% of the patients with venous leg ulcer achieved a relative wound area reduction of ≥ 40%, and 50.9% achieved a relative wound area reduction of ≥ 60%. Within the first 14 days, abundances of S100A8, S100A9, neutrophil elastase, matrix metalloproteinase-2, and fibronectin in venous leg ulcer exudates decreased significantly and remained stable, yet higher than in acute wounds. Interleukin-1β, tumour necrosis factor alpha, and matrix metalloproteinase-9 abundance ranges were similar in venous leg ulcers and acute wound fluids. Collagen (I) α1 abundance was higher in venous leg ulcer wound fluids and was not significantly regulated. Overall, significant biomarker changes occurred in the first 14 days before a clinically robust healing response in the venous leg ulcer cohort.
- Venous ulcer