Several growth factors are potential mediators of wound healing, although their actual roles, interactions, and therapeutic use are not established. Six well-characterized human growth factors were chosen for detailed investigation by topical application to standardized skin wounds in swine: epidermal growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factors alpha and beta (TGF-alpha and TGF-beta), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). When applied singly in doses up to 1,500 ng, only TGF-beta produced a marked tissue response, as demonstrated by an increase in the new connective tissue volume, the collagen content and maturity, and increased angiogenesis. However, TGF-beta enhanced inflammation and caused abnormal epithelial differentiation and decreased epithelial volume, the last reversed by addition of IGF-I. Recombinant PDGF-2 homodimer, if given in combination with recombinant IGF-I, caused a similar increase in the new connective tissue volume and collagen content and maturity, but without increased inflammation. In addition, this combination stimulated increased amounts of epithelium with normal differentiation. The synergy of PDGF-2 and IGF-I was optimal at a ratio of 2:1 by weight. Of the six individual factors and nine combinations tested, the combinations of PDGF-2 and IGF-I or PDGF-2 and TGF-alpha were the most potent stimulators of healing in the absence of increased inflammation.
S E Lynch, R B Colvin, H N Antoniades