Arginase signalling as a key player in chronic wound pathophysiology and healing

Denis Szondi, Jason Wong, Leah A. Vardy, Sheena Cruickshank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Arginase (ARG) represents an important evolutionarily conserved enzyme that is expressed by multiple cell types in the skin. Arg acts as the mediator of the last step of the urea cycle, thus providing protection against excessive ammonia under homeostatic conditions through the production of L-ornithine and urea. L-ornithine represents the intersection point between the ARG-dependent pathways and the urea cycle, therefore contributing to cell detoxification, proliferation and collagen production. The ARG pathways help balance pro- and anti-inflammatory responses in the context of wound healing. However, local and systemic dysfunctionalities of the ARG pathways have been shown to contribute to the hindrance of the healing process and the occurrence of chronic wounds. This review discusses the functions of ARG in macrophages and fibroblasts while detailing the deleterious implications of a malfunctioning ARG enzyme in chronic skin conditions such as leg ulcers. The review also highlights how ARG links with the microbiota and how this impacts on infected chronic wounds. Lastly, the review depicts chronic wound treatments targeting the ARG pathway, alongside future diagnosis and treatment perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Biosciences
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Oct 2021


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