In this paper, we look at the microbiome of traumatic wounds (specifically open fractures) at four specific time points: before and after the wound is cleaned when the patient presents to the emergency room, and at two follow-up visits. We also looked at associations between the wound bacterial diversity and different clinical factors. We collected samples by swabbing the wounds, and analyzed the bacterial communities using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Check out the paper for more details.
We found that, as wound healing progresses, the wounds become more similar to the corresponding healthy adjacent skin. Instead of being dominated by gram positive bacteria like healthy skin, the wound bacterial communities were almost half gram positive and half gram negative bacteria, and the ratio corrected back to a healthy state as wound healing progressed. We also found that wounds of the lower body region had more highly diverse bacterial communities, while wounds of the upper body had less diverse populations. There was no difference in the bacterial community diversity of wounds based on injury mechanism (blunt vs penetrating injury), wound severity, or whether the wound healing was clinically complicated. The abundances of specific taxa (i.e. species or genera) in wound communities differed over time and between different clinical categories, and these are outlined in the paper.
Overall I think this is a pretty cool paper (I know, I know, I'm biased... but I really do think it's cool) and worth a read. And of course, stay tuned because we have a lot more work to do as this ongoing study continues. Have questions or comments about the paper? Let me know in the comments below, or feel free to shoot us an email. I look forward to hearing your opinion.
Hannigan GD, Hodkinson BP, McGinnis K, Tyldsley AS, Anari JB, Horan AD, Grice EA, & Mehta S. (2014). Culture-independent pilot study of microbiota colonizing open fractures and association with severity, mechanism, location, and complication from presentation to early outpatient follow-up. J Orthop Res : 10.1002/jor.22578
*Stock Bacteria Photo Source