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J Trauma. 1991 Jun;31(6):775-82; discussion 782-4.

The cytotoxic effects of commonly used topical antimicrobial agents on human fibroblasts and keratinocytes.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of California, San Diego Medical Center 92103.


This study evaluated the cytotoxicity of commonly used topical agents to human dermal fibroblasts and epidermal keratinocytes, which play a prominent role in wound healing. The effects of these topical agents were assessed using two separate assays for the fibroblasts--tritiated thymidine incorporation and the uptake of a vital dye (neutral red). Keratinocytes were evaluated with the neutral red assay. Serial dilutions of each of 10 commonly used topical agents produced decreases in both the uptake of neutral red and the incorporation of thymidine at clinically relevant doses. Only Neosporin G.U. irrigant showed no significant difference compared with controls in the assays for both the fibroblasts and the keratinocytes. Careful attention must be paid to which agent is used in the clinical setting, since many of these can have profound effects on cells that influence wound healing.

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