OBJECTIVE: Excessive collagen deposition causes hypertrophic scarring after dermal wound repair. It can be functionally and cosmetically debilitating to many patients. A direct approach to the control of scar tissue formation is pharmacological regulation of collagen synthesis and deposition. Some studies reported that hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) plays an important role in scar formation. Hepatocyte growth factor can improve tissue fibrosis and reverse the imbalance of collagen metabolism. However, an in vivo study has not been reported concerning the use of HGF in controlling hypertrophy of skin scar until now.
METHODS: The authors tested the ability of HGF to reduce hypertrophic scar formation in a rabbit ear model. After the placement of three 5-mm dermal wounds on each ear, New Zealand white rabbits received HGF subcutaneously in the left ear at 4 time points on postwounding days 15, 30, 45, and 90. The left ear of each animal served as a control without HGF treatment. Scars were harvested at postoperative 6 months and scar hypertrophy quantified by measurement of the scar elevation index.
RESULTS: The experimental data showed that treatment of scars with HGF decreased scar formation. The HGF treatment resulted in a statistically significant reduction in the scar elevation index (P < .01).
CONCLUSION: The authors’ results indicate the potential use of HGF to treat hypertrophic scarring, which shows important significance for antiscarring therapy.
In this investigation, the authors examine the potential use of hepatocyte growth factor to treat hypertrophic scarring.
Zhibo Xiao, MD, is Associate Professor, Department of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery; and Chen Xi, MD, is Associate Professor, Department of Breast Surgery; both at The Second Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China. The authors have disclosed that they have no financial relationships related to this article.
Acknowledgments: This work was funded by a grant from the Natural Science Fund of Heilongjiang Province (no. 2011D61) and the Doctor Foundation of the Second Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University (no. BS2010-21).
Submitted July 1, 2012; accepted in revised form October 10, 2012.