Elevated uric acid correlates with wound severity.
Chronic venous leg ulcers are a major health issue and represent an often overlooked area of biomedical research. Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly evident that new approaches to enhance healing outcomes may arise through better understanding the processes involved in the formation of chronic wounds. We have for the first time shown that the terminal purine catabolite uric acid (UA) is elevated in wound fluid (WF) from chronic venous leg ulcers with relative concentrations correlating with wound chronicity. We have also shown a corresponding depletion in UA precursors, including adenosine, with increased wound severity. Further, we have shown that xanthine oxidase, the only enzyme in humans that catalyses the production of UA in conjunction with a burst of free radicals, is active in chronic WF. Taken together, this provides compelling evidence that xanthine oxidase may play a critical role in the formation of chronic wounds by prolonging the inflammatory process.