A new technique of ex vivo gene delivery of VEGF to wounds using genetically modified skin particles promotes wound angiogenesis

Taro Koyama, Florian Hackl, Pejman Aflaki, Juri Bergmann, Baraa Zuhaili, Emily Waisbren, Usha Govindarajulu, Feng Yao, Elof Eriksson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Transplantation of genetically modified keratinocytes has been shown to accelerate wound healing. However, this method is labor-intensive and time-consuming. We have developed a new technique of intraoperative gene delivery to wounds that involves transplantation of transfected minced skin particles (MSPs) derived from harvested partial-thickness skin. Study Design: MSPs measuring 0.8 × 0.8 × 0.35 mm were created from a split-thickness skin graft of a pig. In vitro transfection was carried out with adenoviral LacZ (Ad-LacZ) for qualitative and adenoviral vascular endothelial growth factor (Ad-VEGF) for quantitative analysis. Transfected MSPs were transplanted to each of 2.5 × 2.5 cm full-thickness wounds on the dorsum of the pig. Nontransfected MSPs served as controls. Wound chambers were applied and injected with saline to create a wet environment. Results: LacZ expression was detected in migrating cells originating from MSPs both in vitro and in vivo. VEGF expression in the wound fluid of Ad-VEGF-MSP-transplanted wounds on each of days 2 to 4 (mean ± SEM 6.74 ± 1.89 ng/mL, day 2; 9.88 ± 2.27 ng/mL, day 3; 9.87 ± 1.28 ng/mL, day 4) was significantly higher (p < 0.0001) compared with wounds transplanted with either untransfected MSPs, Ad-LacZ-MSPs, or untransplanted controls. In vitro VEGF expression was significantly higher (p < 0.0001) in Ad-VEGF 1 × 1010 transfected MSPs compared with either Ad-VEGF 1 × 109 transfected MSPs or untransfected MSPs. Wounds transplanted with Ad-VEGF-MSPs showed significantly higher (p < 0.0001) numbers of newly formed blood vessels (12.6 ± 0.9 vessels/high power field [HPF]) compared with wounds transplanted with either Ad-LacZ-MSPs (4.4 ± 0.5 vessels/HPF) or untransfected MSPs (5.2 ± 0.7 vessels/HPF). All MSP-transplanted wounds (Ad-VEGF-MSPs, untransfected MSPs, Ad-LacZ-MSPs) showed significantly higher re-epithelialization compared with untransplanted wounds on days 10 and 14 (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: We demonstrated successful transfection of MSPs that can be transplanted to wounds as a source of gene-expressing cells. This technique can be used to deliver growth-modulating genes in wound healing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-348
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


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