Burn Wound Progression: A Histological Analysis of the Mechanisms Responsible

Mr Raymond Quan1,2,3, Prof Damien Harkin3, Dr Christine Andrews4, A/Prof Leila Cuttle1,2,3

1Centre for Children’s Burns & Trauma Research, Centre for Children’s Health Research, South Brisbane, Australia, 2Tissue Repair and Translational Physiology Program, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Kelvin Grove, Australia, 3School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, 4Mater Research Institute – The University of Queensland, South Brisbane, Australia


The classification of burn depth when assessing burn wounds is critical to determine the subsequent treatment and healing potential of the injury. Burns are known to be a dynamic environment where progression of damage may occur after the initial thermal insult to the skin, referred to as burn wound progression (BWP). To effectively assess burn depth and assign depth classification, the occurrence of wound progression must be considered. As the gold standard in burn depth assessment, histological staining is widely beneficial in identifying numerous pathological mechanisms present in burn wounds. To observe BWP, tissue was collected from scald and contact porcine burn wound models at 0, 1, 3, 5 hours and day 1, 3 and 7. Burn wounds which progressed in depth over time were chosen, varying from superficial-partial thickness to full thickness. These sections will be stained with H&E, Gomori Trichrome, Verheoff’s Van Gieson (VVG) stains to identify collagen denaturation, in addition to immunohistochemical stains; Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), Caspase 3a and high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) to identify cell necrosis and apoptosis. Through observing the various stains at differing time points, an accurate timeline of the mechanisms occurring in burn wounds, which may or may not contribute to conversion, can be constructed. Analysis of these stains will determine what processes can be identified to predict and influence BWP. By further understanding the processes that contribute to and cause BWP, we can explore treatments to limit progression and ultimately halt further injury to burn wounds


Raymond graduated from a Bachelor of Biomedical Science and is currently a Biomedical Science Masters of Philosophy student at the Queensland University of Technology. Commencing in December 2018, Raymond’s research aims to further the understanding of the pathological mechanisms that occur in burn wounds and lead to progression.

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