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Growth Factor Plays Key Role in Wound Healing

Transforming growth factor-alpha is main serum factor responsible for keratinocyte migration

MONDAY, Sep. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) appears to be the main factor responsible for serum's ability to promote keratinocyte migration and wound healing, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

David T. Woodley, M.D., of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues compared the ability of 11 growth factors reported to stimulate human keratinocyte migration with human serum.

The researchers found that no single growth factor could replicate the effect of serum on keratinocyte migration. But they found that TGF-alpha alone or in combination with plasma had up to 80 percent and more than 80 percent, respectively, of serum's activity. They also found that adding TGF-alpha to insulin could replicate the activity of serum. When they neutralized or depleted TGF-alpha in serum, they found that it eliminated serum's pro-motility activity.

"For many years, clinicians interested in treating chronic, non-healing wounds knew that transforming a chronic wound into a new acute wound by surgical manipulation would often jump start the wound to heal," the authors concluded. "We believe that it is possible that this new exposure of the cells in the wound to serum and TGF-alpha may be responsible for jumpstarting non-healing wounds into wounds that heal."

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