Nanocrystalline silver dressings have anti-inflammatory activity, unlike solutions containing Ag+ only, which may be due to dissolution of multiple silver species. These dressings can only be used to treat surfaces. Thus, silver-containing solutions with nanocrystalline silver properties could be valuable for treating hard-to-dress surfaces and inflammatory conditions of the lungs and bowels. This study tested nanocrystalline silver-derived solutions for anti-inflammatory activity.
Inflammation was induced on porcine backs using dinitrochlorobenzene. Negative and positive controls were treated with distilled water. Experimental groups were treated with solutions generated by dissolving nanocrystalline silver in distilled water adjusted to starting pHs of 4 (using CO2), 5.6 (as is), 7, and 9 (using Ca(OH)2). Solution samples were analyzed for total silver. Daily imaging, biopsying, erythema and oedema scoring, and treatments were performed for three days. Biopsies were processed for histology, immunohistochemistry (for IL-4, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-α, EGF, KGF, KGF-2, and apoptotic cells), and zymography (MMP-2 and -9). One-way ANOVAs with Tukey-Kramer post tests were used for statistical analyses.
Animals treated with pH 7 and 9 solutions showed clear visual improvements. pH 9 solutions resulted in the most significant reductions in erythema and oedema scores. pH 4 and 7 solutions also reduced oedema scores. Histologically, all treatment groups demonstrated enhanced re-epithelialisation, with decreased inflammation. At 24 h, pMMP-2 expression was significantly lowered with pH 5.6 and 9 treatments, as was aMMP-2 expression with pH 9 treatments. In general, treatment with silver-containing solutions resulted in decreased TNF-α and IL-8 expression, with increased IL-4, EGF, KGF, and KGF-2 expression. At 24 h, apoptotic cells were detected mostly in the dermis with pH 4 and 9 treatments, nowhere with pH 5.6, and in both the epidermis and dermis with pH 7. Solution anti-inflammatory activity did not correlate with total silver content, as pH 4 solutions contained significantly more silver than all others.
Nanocrystalline silver-derived solutions appear to have anti-inflammatory/pro-healing activity, particularly with a starting pH of 9. Solutions generated differently may have varying concentrations of different silver species, only some of which are anti-inflammatory. Nanocrystalline silver-derived solutions show promise for a variety of anti-inflammatory treatment applications.