Growth Differentiation Factor 5 Accelerates Wound Closure and Improves Skin Quality During Repair of Full-Thickness Skin Defects

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A fast and stable wound closure is important, especially for extended and unstable wounds found after burn injuries. Growth can regulate a variety of cellular processes, including those involved in wound healing. Growth differentiation factor 5 (GDF-5) can accelerate fibroblast cell migration, cell proliferation, and collagen synthesis, which are essential for wound healing. Nevertheless, no standardized evaluation of the effect of GDF-5 on the healing of full-thickness wounds has been published to date.


Five full-thickness skin defects were created on the backs of 6 minipigs. Three wounds were treated with GDF-5 in different concentrations with the help of a gelatin-collagen carrier, and 2 wounds served as control group. The first was treated with the gelatin carrier and an Opsite film (Smith & Nephew, Fort Worth, Texas), and the other was treated solely with an Opsite film that was placed above all wounds and renewed every second day.


Growth differentiation factor 5 accelerates wound closure (10.91 [SD, 0.99] days) compared with treatment with the carrier alone (11.3 [SD, 1.49] days) and control wounds (13.3 [SD, 0.94] days). Epidermal cell count of wounds treated with GDF-5 revealed a higher number of cells compared with the control group. In addition, mean epidermal thickness was significantly increased in GDF-5–treated wounds compared with the control wounds.


Because of its ability to improve skin quality, GDF-5 should be considered when developing composite biomaterials for wound healing.

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