Wound care is a major healthcare expenditure. Treatment of burns, surgical and trauma wounds, diabetic lower limb ulcers and skin wounds is a major medical challenge with current therapies largely focused on supportive care measures. Successful wound repair requires a series of tightly coordinated steps including coagulation, inflammation, angiogenesis, new tissue formation and extracellular matrix remodelling. Zinc is an essential trace element (micronutrient) which plays important roles in human physiology. Zinc is a cofactor for many metalloenzymes required for cell membrane repair, cell proliferation, growth and immune system function. The pathological effects of zinc deficiency include the occurrence of skin lesions, growth retardation, impaired immune function and compromised would healing. Here, we discuss investigations on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of zinc in modulating the wound healing process. Knowledge gained from this body of research will help to translate these findings into future clinical management of wound healing.
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