The Effect of an Arginine–Glycine–Aspartic Acid Peptide and Hyaluronate Synthetic Matrix on Epithelialization of Meshed Skin Graft Interstices

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Keratinocytes and fibroblasts interact with proteins of the extracellular matrix such as fibronectin and vitronectin through RGD (arginine–glycine–aspartic acid) cell-attachment sequences. This study evaluated the ability of a provisional synthetic matrix composed of an RGD peptide and hyaluronic acid to accelerate die epithelialization of the interstices of meshed, human, split-thickness skin when placed on full-thickness wounds of athymic mice. Full-thickness skin defects, sparing the panniculus carnosus, were created on athymic mice and 3:1 meshed, human skin was placed on them. The grafts had four central, isolated interstices, which epithelialized by migration of human keratinocytes. Conditions were either die addition to die wound of the syndietic matrix or a matrix of hyaluronic acid alone. The time to closure of die graft interstices was decreased (p<0.02) in the wounds treated with the RGD peptide—hyaluronic acid provisional matrix. The resultant epithelium of the closed interstices was significantly thicker 8 days after surgery for die RGD-treated ' wounds. Basement membrane proteins (laminin and type IV collagen) were also found to be present at the dermoepidermal junction earlier in the RGD-treated wounds. These results imply that use of the RGD peptide conjugate to effect cell-matrix interactions may have clinical significance in the field of wound healing.

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