The research suggests that the functional food, which is widely consumed as a health remedy in Asia, could improve the wound healing process by decreasing levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha.
Writing in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, the Taiwanese research team revealed that rats supplemented with freshwater clam extract (FCE) had a significantly smaller wound area than those given a normal saline (NS) control.
“The results show that the FCE group, taking dietary supplements, had more re-epithelialization than the NS group, significantly improving the wound healing process,” wrote the team, led by Yi-Chi Peng from the Institute of Medical Sciences at Tzu Chi University in Taiwan.
“The administration of FCE [also] decreased pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α and IL-6 levels compared to the placebo group, although there were no statistically significant differences between the groups,” they added.
Peng and colleagues used a cutaneous incision model to investigate the effects of FCE on wound healing. In the study, 16 rats were divided in to two groups – one group receiving FCE and the other NS for 14 days after they underwent dorsal full-thickness skin excisional wounds (diameter 20 × 10 mm).
Blood samples were taken and analysed for a variety of biomarkers, and wound areas were measured at several time points during the two weeks after excision, noted the team.
They reported that supplementation with FCE lowered levels of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) compared to the NS group at three hours after after wounding, however there were no significant differences in the levels of white blood cells, interleukin (IL)-6, or IL-10.
The wound areas of the NS group (23.9%) were also found to be significantly larger than those in the FCE group (8.26%) on day 14, Peng and colleagues said – adding that numerous fibroblasts and collagen fibre organization were observed in the FCE group.
“We speculate that the benefits of freshwater clams might be via the modulation of inflammatory responses and effects on wound healing,” they commented.
“The FCE group also showed an increase in anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 levels compared to the placebo group; however, there were no significant differences between the groups. Therefore, further research in this area is required,” they added.
According to the Taiwanese team, the findings of the study support the proposition that freshwater clams have an ability to affect the local production of inflammatory mediators that regulate the wound healing process. However, they reiterated that more research is needed and that future research “will hopefully clarify whether they are beneficial or detrimental to various wound types and patient populations.”
Source: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/jsfa.7849
“Freshwater clam extract supplementation improves wound healing by decreasing the tumor necrosis factor α level in blood”
Authors: Yi-Chi Peng, et al