Growth factors have been shown to modulate the complex cascade of wound healing, however, interaction between different growth factors during dermal and epidermal regeneration is still not entirely defined. We have recently shown that exogenous liposomal gene transfer of cDNA results in physiologic expression and response in an acute wound. In the present study we determined the interaction between insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), a mesenchymal growth factor, administered as liposomal cDNA, with other dermal and epidermal growth factors on collagen synthesis in an acute wound. Sprague-Dawley rats were given a scald burn to inflict an acute wound and divided into two groups to receive weekly subcutaneous injections of liposomes plus a β-galactosidase containing plasmid (Lac Z (0.2 μg, vehicle)), or liposomes plus the IGF-I cDNA containing plasmid (2.2 μg) and Lac Z (0.2 μg). Immunological assays, histological and immunohistochemical techniques were used to determine growth factor concentration and different types of collagen (I, III, and IV) after IGF-I cDNA gene transfer, IGF-I cDNA transfer accelerated reepithelization and was associated with increased levels of IGF-I, fibroblast growth factor, keratinocyte growth factor, vascular endothelial cell growth factor, and platelet-derived growth factor protein expression. IGF-I cDNA had no effect on transforming growth factor-β. IGF-I cDNA significantly increased type IV collagen while it had no effect on types I and III collagen. Exogenously administered IGF-I cDNA increased protein concentrations of keratinocyte growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor, and type IV collagen. We conclude that liposomal IGF-I gene transfer can accelerate wound healing without causing an increase in types I and III collagen expression.
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