Turns out the same glands that make you sweat are responsible for another job vital to your health: they help heal wounds.
Human skin is rich with millions of eccrine sweat glands that help your body cool down after a trip to the gym or on a warm day. These same glands, new University of Michigan Health System research shows, also happen to play a key role in providing cells for recovering skin wounds - such as scrapes, burns and ulcers.
The findings were released online ahead of print in the American Journal of Pathology.
"Skin ulcers - including those caused by diabetes or bed sores - and other non-healing wounds remain a tremendous burden on health services and communities around the world," says lead author Laure Ritti-, Ph.D., research assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Michigan Medical School.
"Treating chronic wounds costs tens of billions of dollars annually in the United States alone, and this price tag just keeps rising. Something isn't working."
Now, U-M researchers believe they have discovered one of the body's most powerful secret weapons in healing.
"By identifying a key process of wound closure, we can examine drug therapies with a new target in mind: sweat glands, which are very under-studied," Ritti- says. "We're hoping this will stimulate research in a promising, new direction."