The Wound Microbiome: Modern Approaches to Examining the Role of Microorganisms in Impaired Chronic Wound Healing.

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Peer Reviewed


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NLM Title Abbreviation

Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle).

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Advances in Wound Care (New Rochelle)

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DOI of Published Version


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Significance: Bacterial burden is believed to play a significant role in impaired wound healing of chronic wounds and the development of infection-related complications. The standard of care in the clinic relies upon cultivation-dependent methods to identify microorganisms. These assays are biased toward microorganisms that thrive in isolation under laboratory conditions. Recent Advances: Significant advances in genomic technologies have enabled less-biased, culture-independent approaches to characterize microbial communities, or microbiomes. The aggregate sequencing and analysis of 16S ribosomal RNA genes has demonstrated that cultures under-represent true microbial diversity and load. Critical Issues: Despite recent advances that enable culture-independent analyses of microbiomes, those organisms that are important in impaired healing remain ambiguous. Inconsistent findings across various studies highlight the need to characterize microbiomes of chronic wounds with homogenous etiology to determine differences in microbiomes that may be driven by the wound environment and that may affect wound outcomes. Rigorous analyses of wound microbiomes in light of the three dimensions of bioburden (microbial diversity, microbial load, and pathogenic organisms), clinical metadata, and wound outcomes will be a significant step forward in our quest to understand the role of microorganisms in impaired healing. Future Directions: Longitudinal studies employing serial sampling are needed to appreciate the role of the dynamic microbial community in chronic wound healing. The value of clinical metadata needs to be examined as potential biomarkers of problematic microbiota and wound outcomes. Lastly, better characterization and understanding of wound microbiomes will open avenues for improved diagnostic and therapeutic tools for the nonhealing wound.

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