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World J Surg. 2005;29 Suppl 1:S55-9.

Wound healing enhancement: electroporation to address a classic problem of military medicine.

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Section of Surgical Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


The major goal of wound healing biology is to determine how a wound can be induced to repair damaged tissue faster and more efficiently. Enhancement of dermal and epidermal regeneration is an extremely important goal for the treatment of many different types of wounds. Exogenous application of growth factors to the wound site has been shown to have potential to improve wound healing. Frequent applications of large amounts of growth factor have been required. This is because proteases in the wound quickly destroy peptide growth factor. Gene therapy has the potential to produce growth factors deep within the wound, where they can be effective as well as able to constantly replenish growth factor that is destroyed by peptidases. We have shown that application of plasmid DNA expression vectors directly into the wound is an inefficient modality. Electroporation, the application of an electrical field across cells to permeabilize the cell membrane has led us to explore the possibility of utilizing the technique to enhance transfection efficiency. We have identified electroporation parameters that improve the efficiency of DNA transfection in cutaneous wounds, and we have shown that electroporation itself does not impair wound healing. We are now on the threshold of exploring whether electroporation-assisted transfection with DNA plasmid expression vectors for growth factors will be an effective modality for enhancing cutaneous wound healing.

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