Wound healing is a complex process. Different types of skin cells, extracellular matrix and variety of growth factors are involved in wound healing. The use of recombinant growth factors in researches and production of skin substitutes are still a challenge.
Much research has been done on the effects of gene therapy and cell therapy on wound healing. In this experimental study, the effect of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) gene transfer in fibroblast cells was assessed on acute dermal wound healing.
Materials and Methods:
Fibroblasts were cultured and transfected with IGF-1. Lipofectamine 2000 was used as a reagent of transfection. Transgene expression levels were measured by the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). To study in vivo, rats (weighing 170-200 g) were randomly divided into three groups (five/group) and full-thickness wounds were created on the dorsum region. Suspensions of transfected fibroblast cells were injected into the wound and were compared with wounds treated with native fibroblast cells and normal saline. For the microscopic examination, biopsy was performed on day seven.
In vitro, the maximum expression of IGF1 (96.95 pg/mL) in transfected fibroblast cells was 24 hours after gene transfer. In vivo, it was clear that IGF-1 gene therapy caused an increase in the number of keratinocyte cells during the wound healing process (mean of group A vs. group B with P value = 0.01, mean of group A vs. group C with P value = 0.000). Granulation of tissue formation in the transfected fibroblast group was more organized when compared with the normal saline group and native fibroblast cells.
This study indicated that the optimization of gene transfer increases the expression of IGF-1. High concentrations of IGF-1, in combination with cell therapy, have a significant effect on wound healing.