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Ann Surg. 1988 Dec;208(6):788-94.

Acceleration of tensile strength of incisions treated with EGF and TGF-beta.

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  • 1Price Institute of Surgical Research, Department of Surgery, University of Louisville, Kentucky 40292.


The ability of surgeons to accelerate wound healing through pharmacologic intervention is limited. The effects of locally applied, biosynthetic human epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) on tensile strength of experimental incisions were investigated. A single dose of EGF in saline failed to increase tensile strength over controls. Thus, EGF was incorporated into multilamellar liposomes, which prolonged the exposure of incisions to EGF (p less than 0.001). A single dose of EGF in multilamellar liposomes produced a 200% increase in wound tensile strength over controls between 7 and 14 days (p less than 0.05). Light and electron microscopy of the wounds revealed increased collagen formation and fibroblast proliferation. A single dose of TGB-beta in a collagen vehicle stimulated a 51% increase in wound tensile strength at 9 days (p less than 0.01). We conclude that addition of EGF and TGF-beta in appropriate vehicles stimulates early transient increases in wound tensile strength in normal rats.

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