Effect of γ-Interferon on the Clinical and Biologic Evolution of Hypertrophic Scars and Dupuytren's Disease: An Open Pilot Study

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Hypertrophic scars and Dupuytren's disease are characterized by the presence of modified fibroblasts or myofibroblasts which are allegedly responsible for tissue retraction and excessive connective tissue production. γ-Interferon, a cytokine produced by T-helper lymphocytes, has been shown to decrease fibroblast replication, α-smooth-muscle actin (the actin isoform characterizing myofibroblasts) expression, and collagen production. We have investigated in an open pilot study the possibility that intralesional injections of γ-interferon exert a beneficial effect on the evolution of hypertrophic scars and Dupuytren's disease. In the 14 selected patients, γ-interferon decreased the symptoms and the size of the lesions of both diseases; in hypertrophic scars, immunofluorescence examination showed that α-smooth-muscle actin expression also was decreased in myofibroblasts. Moreover, in fibroblasts cultured from 4 patients with hypertrophic scars, γ-interferon decreased replication and α-smooth-muscle actin expression in vitro. Our results suggest that γ-interferon could represent a useful adjunct to the nonsurgical therapy of hypertrophic scars and Dupuytren's disease. Larger controlled clinical studies, however, should test the validity of these preliminary observations. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 93: 1224, 1994.)

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