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Application of snail mucin dispersed in detarium gum gel in wound healing

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This study is aimed at describing the effects of snail mucin dispersed in detarium gum gel on wound healing in rats. The gels were prepared from a mixture of snail mucin and honey and the detraium gum gel. A similar gel containing only the mucin was also formulated. It was observed that the gels containing both the snail mucin and the honey had greater healing effect than the gel containing the mucin alone. Complete wound healing was observed on day 13 in all the cases studied with mucin and honey combinations and over 80 percent healing was achieved for all the cases with mucin alone dispersed in the gum gel.
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Scientific Research and Essay Vol. 2 (6), pp. 195-198, June 2007
Available online at http://www.academicjournals.org/SRE
ISSN 1992-2248 © 2007 Academic Journals
Full Length Research Paper
Application of snail mucin dispersed in detarium gum
gel in wound healing
M. U. Adikwu and B. U. Alozie
Department of Pharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka 410001, Nigeria.
Accepted 25 April, 2007
This study is aimed at describing the effects of snail mucin dispersed in detarium gum gel on wound
healing in rats. The gels were prepared from a mixture of snail mucin and honey and the detraium
gum gel. A similar gel containing only the mucin was also formulated. It was observed that the gels
containing both the snail mucin and the honey had greater healing effect than the gel containing the
mucin alone. Complete wound healing was observed on day 13 in all the cases studied with mucin
and honey combinations and over 80 percent healing was achieved for all the cases with mucin alone
dispersed in the gum gel.
Key words: Snail mucin, honey, detarium gum, gel, wound healing.
INTRODUCTION
Many factors affect wound healing. Bacteria infection is
one of the major factors that affect wound healing. The
invasion of bacteria directly to the wound produces inf-
lammation and fluid exudation which interferes with hea-
ling. In addition, bacteria toxins cause tissue damage and
delays fibroplasias as well as collagen synthesis (Obase-
ki-Ebor et al., 1983).
Deficiency resulting from nutritional constituents’ espe-
cially protein, vitamin A, B and C also delays wound hea-
ling (Hunt et al., 1969). Protein is essential for body rep-
airs through the reaction of its constituent amino acids.
Building and repairing issue require adequate amounts of
calories and protein to fuel the repair mechanisms, as the
skin and underlying tissues are made of protein. Vitamin
A stimulates fibroplasias and may be especially useful in
a topical preparation for skin injuries in people taking
corticosteroids. Vitamin C is needed to make collagen
(connective tissue) that strengthens skin, muscles, and
blood vessel and to ensure proper wound healing. Sev-
ere injury appears to increase vitamin C requirements
and vitamin C deficiency causes delayed healing. Topical
application of vitamin E is sometimes recommended for
preventing or treating post-injury scars (Levine, 1986).
Some drugs affect wound healing; for example, long
term, high doses of corticosteroids (Jenkins et al., 1986).
A topical preparation of chamomile combined with corti-
costeroids and antihistamines has been used to speed-
*Corresponding author. E-mail: adikwum@yahoo.com.
up wound healing in elderly people with stasis ulcers
caused by inadequate circulation (Jenkins et al., 1986).
Horse chestnut contains a compound called aescin that
acts as an anti-inflammatory and reduces oedema follo-
wing trauma (Guillaume and Padioleau, 1994).
It is important that wounds be properly cleaned and
dressed before any preparations are applied. This pre-
vents infection. Bacterial appear to contaminate all surgi-
cal wound, but not all wound may be affected. Infection of
surgical wounds depends on the bacterial inoculums, the
virulence of the bacteria and the duration after contami-
nation. Apart from the bacterial factors, is the impaired
host defense due to old age, poor physical state, malnut-
rition and systemic diseases. Necrotic tissue and reduced
blood supply to the wound are other factors (Romito,
1995; Roberts et al., 1998). Since bacterial growth flouris-
hes in dead tissues, the presence of dead or devitalized
tissues in a wound is an invitation to infection. Where
dead space is present fluid accumulates and serves as a
culture media for bacterial growth. In addition, fluid accu-
mulation within the tissue limits migration of reparative
cells. In spite of improved aseptic techniques to avoid
wound contamination as well as the use of antimicrobial
agents, wound contamination and infection remain a post
operative complication which could lead to even post-
surgical death.
If animal skin integrity is compromised by accidental or
surgery trauma, infectious agents have access into the
wound to cause contamination and infection of the soft
tissue locally. The infectious agents can as well get entra-
196 Sci. Res. Essays
nce into the blood stream which carries it to distant
organs to set up other foci of infection.
The sources of contamination and infection are the skin
of the patient, the surgical equipment, theatre (hospital
environment), patient, the surgeon and the type of sur-
gery performed (Forest, 1982).
For around 2000 years, honey has been used to treat a
variety of ailments through topical application. Modern
research into the use of honey as an antimicrobial agent
has revealed its potential for treating a variety of ail-
ments. Anti-bacterial properties of honey are the result of
the low water activity causing osmosis, hydrogen pero-
xide effect and high acidity (Cooper et al., 1999; Khristov
and Mladenov, 1961).
Honey is a poor environment for the growth of organi-
sms since it has a low water activity. Additionally, the use
of honey reduces odours, reduces swelling and reduces
scarring; it also prevents the dressing from sticking to the
healing wound. It acts as an antiseptic/antibacterial
agent. It is an excellent natural preservative. In ancient
history, the Ancient Egyptian and Middle-Eastern people
also used honey for embalming the dead. However, only
rich and powerful people had the luxury of this type of
funeral.
The pH of honey is commonly between 4 –5. This rela-
tively acidic pH level prevents the growth of many bacte-
ria responsible for infections (Khristov and Mladenov,
1961; Adikwu and Ndu, 2006).
Mucins are a family of large glycosylated proteins (50
%w/w carbohydrate). Mucins are group of nitrogenous
substances secreted by a mucous gland. Although some
mucins are membrane-bound due to the presence of a
hydrophobic membrane spanning domain that favours
retention in the plasma-membrane, the concentration
here is on those mucins that are secreted on mucosal
surfaces and saliva. Mucin protein backbones are cha-
racterized by numerous tandem repeats that contain pro-
line and are high in serine asparagine, hydroxylysine
and/or threonine residues (Adikwu, 2006). The structures
occur in many life forms, and are prevalent and important
in mammalian tissues.
The attached carbohydrate may have several effects; it
may help the protein to fold in the proper geometry,
stabilize the protein, attract physical properties such as
solubility or viscosity, help it to orient correctly in mem-
branes or, make it recognizable to another biochemical or
cell. Many proteins released by cells to the blood and
other fluids are glycoproteins.
Mucins are secreted as massive aggregate of proteins
with molecular masses of roughly 1 to 10 million Da.
Within these aggregates, monomers are linked to one
another mostly by non-covalent interactions, although
intermolecular disulfide bonds may also play a role in this
process. They are mainly secreted in the intestine but
also in airways and other body membranes (Adikwu et
al., 2005).
Snails produce copious mucin which is often referred to
as slime. The wound healing property of snail mucin has
been reported (Adikwu and Ikejiuba, 2005). Similarly, its
physiological and toxicological properties have been
documented (Adikwu and Nnamani, 2005). The use of
the mucin in a muco-adhesive gel preparation and when
fortified with honey and its effect on wound is reported in
this work.
EXPERIMENTAL
Materials
Acetone (BDH Chemicals); Diazepam injection (GlaxoWellcome),
methylated spirit (Hardis and Dromedras) and distilled water were
from an all glass still. The mucin was obtained from a batch
prepared in our laboratory following earlier established procedures
(Adikwu et al., 2005). Purified honey was obtained from the local
market and diluted with sterile, distilled water to obtain a viscosity
grade that was equivalent to that stated in the Pharmaceutical
Codex (The Pharmaceutical Codex, 1979).
Preparation of detarium gum
The seeds of the plant were fried in hot air oven, soaked for 12 h,
peeled and milled into small particles. The milled particles were
soaked for 12 h and sieved with muslin cloth, precipitated with
acetone and left under room temperature for 3 h. The precipitate
was collected on a Buchner funnel by means of pressure from a
vacuum pump. It was placed in a vacuum desiccator for 4 days until
dried. The dried material was then milled into smaller particles and
was sieved with 250 m sieve and the fine particles were collected
into a clean, amber-coloured bottle and stored in a cool condition
until used. This procedure is in accordance with an earlier reported
one (Chukwu, 1992; Ozumba and Bandgudu, 1992).
Formulation of the gels
A 1.5 g quantity of fine particle of detarium gum was weighed into 8
different clean beakers and 50 ml of distilled water was added into
each of the 8 beaker and vigorously shaken until uniformly disper-
sed. Mucin which ranged from 200, 400, 800, to 1000 mg, was
added in appropriate beakers and stirred for 5 min, and the gelation
was allowed to further take place for three hours undisturbed. For
the formulations containing the honey, the required quantity of the
honey was added to the mixed gum gel containing the mucin and
stirred gently again, continuously until a homogenous production
was obtained (Table 1). Each product was placed in a clean, wide-
mouthed bottle and labeled. The preparations were all stored in
refrigerated environment until used.
The formulae above were in the production of the various gels.
Each gel was prepared basically with variations of the materials as
indicated in the table except for detarium gum which was kept
constant (Table 2).
Animals
Sixteen male healthy albino rats obtained from Animal Laboratory
of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of
Nigeria, Nsukka, were used in the study. The animals were quaran-
tined for a period of one week to ensure stabilization before use.
Adikwu and Alozie 197
Table 1. Quantities of the ingredients used in the formulation of the gels.
Batch Detarium microcarpum (G)
Mucin (MG)
Honey (MG) Water (ML)
1.5 g D.M.G + 200 mg Mucin + 200 mg Honey 1.5 200 200 50
1.5 g D.M.G + 400 mg Mucin + 400 mg Honey 1.5 400 400 50
1.5 g D.M.G + 800 mg Mucin + 800 mg Honey 1.5 800 800 50
1.5 g D.M.G + 1000 mg Mucin + 1000 mg Honey 1.5 1000 1000 50
1.5 g D.M.G + 200 mg Mucin 1.5 200 - 50
1.5 g D.M.G + 400 mg Mucin 1.5 400 - 50
1.5 g D.M.G + 800 mg Mucin 1.5 800 - 50
1.5 g D.M.G + 1000 mg Mucin 1.5 1000 - 50
Table 2. Effect of various gel preparations of mucin and honey on wound size of the rats.
Mean wound size (MM) on days post surgery ± S.EM Batch
1ST 4th 7TH 10TH 13TH
1.5 g D.M.G +200 mg Mucin + 200 mg Honey 20±3.64 16±3.04 11.5±1.65 6.3 ±2.11 0
1.5 g D.M.G + 400 mg Mucin + 400 mg Honey 20±2.88 13.5±6.48 11.5±1.05 0 0
1.5 g D.M.G + 800 mg Mucin + 800 mg Honey 20±2.88 13±2.27 9±1.29 0±0.00 0
1.5 g D.M.G + 1000 mg Mucin + 1000 mg Honey 20±2.88 10.5±2.22 7.5±1.06 0.00 0
1.5 g D.M.G + 200 mg Mucin 20±2.88 14.5±2.08 12±1.69 7.5±0.46 2.5±0.69
1.5 g D.M.G + 400 mg Mucin 20±2.88 13±1.87 9.5±1.77 4.5±0.41 1.5±0.08
1.5 g D.M.G + 800 mg Mucin 20±2.88 9±1.30 3.3±0.41 1.3±0.16 0
1.5 g D.M.G + 1000 mg Mucin 20. 0±0 7.5±1.72 2.0±1.15 0 0
Feeds consist of grower’s marsh and water was provided for the
albino rats. The weights range from 247 – 358 g.
Preparation of wound site in experimental animals
The wound site was prepared following the incision wound model
(Glowania et al., 1987). The albino rats were anaesthetized with
diazepam (0.2 mg/kg body weight) and the hairs on the skin of the
animals’ back were shaved with a sterilized razor blade. A circle of
diameter 20 mm was marked on each right side of the thigh of the
animal’s skin surface, and the skin dissected out. The area was
measured immediately by tracing out the wound area using a
transparent tracing paper and the squares counted and the area
recorded.
Determination of the rate of wound healing
Treatment was initiated immediately after the incision was made by
applying the gel on the wound and then once in every two days. All
the gels were applied topically using sterile cotton wool. The wound
area of each animal was measured while the animals were under
diazepam anesthesia on the days following post surgery. Each
application was evaluated in 4 rats per group and the results shown
are a mean of 4 determinations. All the procedures followed World
Health Organization (WHO) Procedures for Biomedical Research
Involving Animal Subjects, 1982.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
There was a general and progressive decrease in wound
radius of the animals with time (Table 3). By the 13th day
the wound area of all the animals treated with a mixture
of the mucin and honey in the gels had rescinded.
The combination of the mucin and the honey in the
gum gel produced better wound healing than when the
mucin was used alone. Healing of wound is a complex
phenomenon involving various phases, coagulation, infla-
memation, collagenation, wound contraction, epithaliali-
zation and remodeling. The phases between coagulation
and collagenation are intimately related while that of
wound contraction and epitheliazation is independent of
each other but run concurrently (Prudden and Allen,
1965). The process of wound healing may be aided by
the use of adhesive materials such as the detarium gel
since it enables intimate contact of the healing materials
with the wound surface. Moreover, it has been observed
that honey and snail mucin have adequate wound healing
properties (Cooper et al., 1999; Adikwu and Ikejiuba,
2005). Honey when used for wound healing produces
little or no side effect. Snail mucin has also been reported
to heal wounds (Adikwu and Ikejiuba, 2005). It was
observed in this study that snail mucin promotes regene-
ration of hairs when combined with honey in the animal
experiment.
Snail mucin played an important role in wound healing
as it enhances the skin natural regenerative response on
the formation of new tissues, probably through immune
response. The smoothness observed in the healing may
indicate that the preparation may prevent kelloid forma-
tion.
198 Sci. Res. Essays
Table 3. Percentage size reduction of the wounds.
Wound size reduction (%) Batch
4TH Day 7TH Day 10TH Day 13TH Day
1.5 g D.M.G +200 mg Mucin + 200 mg Honey 20±3.64 47.5±7.91 68.5 100
1.5 g D.M.G + 400 mg Mucin + 400 mg Honey 32.5±4.67 47.5±9.61 100 100
1.5 g D.M.G + 800 mg Mucin + *00 mg Honey 52.5±3.95 62.5±8.94 100 100
1.5 g D.M.G + 1000 mg Mucin + 1000 mg Honey 50±3.18 72.5±6.09 92.5±5 100
1.5 g D.M.G + 200 mg Mucin 30.8±4.43 40.0±5.51 62.5±4.11 87.5 ± 6.82
1.5 g D.M.G + 400 mg Mucin 35.0±5.04 57.5±5.04 77.5±2.00 92.5± 3.41
1.5 g D.M.G + 800 mg Mucin 55.0±7.92 82.5±7.11 95.35±2.00 100
1.5 g D.M.G + 1000 mg Mucin 62.5±8.80 90±7.48 100.35±4.79 100
Honey has been shown to have several advantages in
healing of wound. It is known to prevent infections and
reduce the inflammation, swelling, pain and foul-smell of
wounds rapidly. It is reported to induce sloughing of nec-
rotic tissue, thereby hastening granulation and epithelia-
zation. Wound is regarded as healed if there is a restora-
tion of the wounded or inflamed tissue to normal condi-
tion. Wound healing processes are generally classified
into:
a) Healing by first intention
b) Healing by second intention; and
c) Healing by third intention; depending on the nature of
the edges of the healed wounds (Mazzotta, 1994).
When mucin is combined with honey, and applied to a
clear incised wound, healing could be said to occur by
first intention., that is, the healing occurs by a process
that closes the wound edges with little or no inflammatory
reaction, and in such manner that no scar is left. The aim
of modern surgery is to effect healing by first intention
with little post surgical tissue necrosis, as wound edges
are united firmly, granulation tissue are not visible and
hence the scar is minimal. No suppuration was noticed
throughout the treatment and healing period when mucin
was used alone and in combination with honey.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This research was supported by the International Foun-
dation for Science, Stockholm, Sweden, through a grant
to Dr. M. U. Adikwu. He is grateful to the authorities of the
International Foundation for Science, Sweden, for gran-
ting him the research award used for this studies (Gran-
tee No. F/3560-2F). The author is also grateful to God
who created the snail that produces the mucin.
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