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Br J Dermatol. 1997 Aug;137(2):188-94.

T lymphocytes and the lack of activated macrophages in wound margin biopsies from chronic leg ulcers.

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Department of Surgery, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, U.K.


The objective of this study was to characterize the leucocyte infiltrate which accumulates at the margin of chronic wounds. These leucocytes are a rich source of cytokines and growth factors, and an inappropriate function of these cells may contribute to the maintenance of wound chronicity. The leucocyte populations were stained immunohistochemically with monoclonal antibodies specific for surface receptors which give an indication of cellular function. Wound margin biopsies taken from chronic leg ulcers exhibited a localized infiltrate of CD45+ leucocytes associated with vascularized tissue in the dermis adjacent to the wound margin. Lymphocytes were identified in highest numbers in this area and CD45RO+ T lymphocytes predominated over B lymphocytes, which were either absent or present in very low numbers. In the majority of chronic wounds examined, CD4+ T lymphocytes were present in greater numbers than CD8+ T lymphocytes with a mean (+/-SD) ratio of CD4+:CD8+ of 1.5 +/- 0.6. CD68+ macrophages were identified in all layers of the dermis at the chronic wound margin. In 60% of wounds examined, macrophages were negative for the activation associated markers CD16 (Fc gamma III receptor) and CD35 (C3b receptor). In those biopsies where CD16 and CD35 positive macrophages were observed these were preferentially located in the perivascular regions. These data indicate that as monocytes extravasate into chronic wound tissue they may be subjected to microenvironmental influences which either suppress or do not induce macrophage activation. Suppression of macrophage activation may lead to an inappropriate cytokine/growth factor secretion and contribute to the maintenance of wound chronicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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