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Dermatol Surg. 1996 Nov;22(11):955-9.

Cytokine mRNA changes during the treatment of hypertrophic scars with silicone and nonsilicone gel dressings.

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Department of Dermatology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.



Treatment of hypertrophic scars can be difficult for both patients and physicians. Silicone-containing gel dressings have been reported to be an effective alternative treatment for hypertrophic scars, yet the mechanism of action of these dressings is unknown.


To determine whether silicone is an essential factor in the treatment of hypertrophic scars and investigate the effects of occlusive dressing therapy on the expression of key wound healing mediators.


A pilot paired comparison, nonrandomized study was conducted comparing a silicone gel sheeting (Silastic [SGS]) with a hydrogel dressing (ClearSite). The effects of the dressings were compared side by side in the treatment of 15 hypertrophic scars at both the clinical and molecular levels through the use of reverse transcriptase/polymerase chain reaction to evaluate effects on the expression of interleukin 8 (IL-8), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GMCSF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta), and fibronectin.


Comparable clinical improvement of the hypertrophic scars was obtained with both dressings. Treatment of hypertrophic scars resulted in increased mean levels of IL-8, bFGF, and GMCSF mRNA; while mean TGF beta and fibronectin mRNAs decreased after treatment with both dressings. Comparison between the two dressings revealed significant changes in IL-8 and fibronectin mRNA levels after treatment with ClearSite, while only fibronectin changes were significant after treatment with SGS with respect to normal skin. Only ClearSite induced significant changes in IL-8 and bFGF levels when untreated scars were compared with posttreatment lesions, suggesting that the hydrogel augments collagenolysis via promotion of inflammation.


This study demonstrates that silicone is not a necessary component of occlusive dressings in the treatment of hypertrophic scars. The pathogenesis of hypertrophic scars is further elucidated by demonstrating that there is molecular evidence for extensive connective tissue remodeling occurring during occlusive dressing therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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