UIC Logo Factors like stress may have an impact on the process of wound healing. However, a latest research says that stress affects the healing of wounds in the skin or mucosal tissues, in a different manner. This research was conducted by the researchers of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

These researchers evaluated around 65 dental students from the university. These students were each given a small circular wound and a small longitudinal wound on the hard palate of their mouth. These wounds were given to them at two different times; one was given during the stressful week of examinations, while the other wound was given during their relatively stress free vacations. The circular wound in the mouth of these students was videographed daily in order to supervise the wound closure.

Christopher Engeland, assistant professor of periodontics, University of Illinois at Chicago, says that, “We believe what may improve healing in one tissue type may possibly worsen healing in a different type of tissue.”

However, as far as the longitudinal wound was concerned, biopsies were taken from it at both 6 and 24 hours after wounding. These biopsies were taken with the aim of analyzing the different stages of the wound’s inflammatory process. From these biopsies the different levels of expression of the eight genes that were involved in inflammation, were established.

It was discovered that wound closure took a longer period of time during levels of high stress. The researchers state that the stressful period of examination was traced to a high amount of inflammation in healthy tissue and a high amount of inflammatory response in wounded tissue.

Earlier studies had linked stress with low inflammation in skin wounds; however, the effect appears to be the opposite in the mucosal tissue of the palate in this research. The research findings hint that the rate of healing may be calculated before surgery itself, through the immune status in the normal tissue.

Their findings are believed to be soon presented at the American Psychosomatic Society’s 67th annual meeting on the 5th of March.