Novel protease-based diagnostic devices for detection of wound infection


Reprint requests:

Miss E. Sigl, Petersgasse 12, 8010 Graz, Austria.

Tel: +43 316 873 8312;

Fax: +43 316 873 8815;



A gelatinase-based device for fast detection of wound infection was developed. Collective gelatinolytic activity in infected wounds was 23 times higher (p ≤ 0.001) than in noninfected wounds and blisters according to the clinical and microbiological description of the wounds. Enzyme activities of critical wounds showed 12-fold elevated enzyme activities compared with noninfected wounds and blisters. Upon incubation of gelatin-based devices with infected wound fluids, an incubation time of 30 minutes led to a clearly visible dye release. A 32-fold color increase was measured after 60 minutes. Both matrix metalloproteinases and elastases contributed to collective gelatinolytic enzyme activity as shown by zymography and inhibition experiments. The metalloproteinase inhibitor 1,10-phenanthroline (targeting matrix metalloproteinases) and the serine protease inhibitor phenylmethlysulfonyl fluoride (targeting human neutrophil elastase) inhibited gelatinolytic activity in infected wound fluid samples by 11–37% and 60–95%, respectively. Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, both known for gelatinase production, were isolated in infected wound samples.