Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the effect of cyclic ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury on wound healing using a novel rabbit ear model.
Materials and Methods: A lightweight clamp apparatus was developed for reversible occlusion of the central ear artery. Ventral ear wounds were analyzed postoperatively for epithelialization and granulation as well as gene expression after 3 consecutive days of IR cycling.
Results: By postoperative day #7, ears showed no gross tissue necrosis, but histologic analysis of wounds confirmed a significant impairment in epithelial and granulation tissue gaps as well as total epithelial and granulation tissue areas (P < 0.001). Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis of IR wounds indicated significant up-regulation of heat shock protein-70 and down-regulation of superoxide dismutase 1 relative to sham controls (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: A novel rabbit ear model for the induction of subclinical, cyclic IR injury in cutaneous tissue has been developed that will serve as a valuable tool for the testing of new therapeutics.