Amniotic membrane: New concepts for an old dressing

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The amniotic membrane is the innermost layer of fetal membranes that surrounds and protects the embryo. The amniotic epithelial cells are a rich source for biologically active factors known to promote cell proliferation and differentiation. Therefore, the amniotic membrane is considered to be an attractive wound dressing material. Despite a large number of publications reporting anti-inflammatory, bacteriostatic, reepithelializing, and scar-preventing properties of amniotic membrane, not all the molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial actions of the amniotic membrane dressing have been fully elucidated. This review summarizes current knowledge on the properties of the amniotic membrane and its various clinical applications. It includes an overview of the main biologically active factors that may be responsible for the observed clinical effects of amnion dressings. This issue is briefly discussed in the context of the role of amnion processing and inter- and intradonor variations between amniotic membrane specimens. Finally, future directions for the use of amnion derivatives in wound care are indicated.

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