Background: In an acute burn injury the zone of stasis is initially vital but may progress to coagulation necrosis with time. In this study, salvage of the zone of stasis was aimed at by subcutaneous mesenchymal stem cell injection.
Methods: Mesenchymal stem cells were obtained from the bone marrow of Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 10). Twenty Sprague-Dawley rats received thermal injury on the back according to the previously described “comb burn” model. Thirty minutes after the burn injury, mesenchymal stem cells were injected subcutaneously to the stasis zone of the experimental group (n = 10). Animals in the control group (n = 10) were given the same amount of saline without mesenchymal stem cells. Animals in the sham group (n = 6) did not receive any thermal trauma. Seventy-two hours after the burn injury, scintigraphic examination was applied to determine average vital tissue at the stasis zone. Thereafter, skin samples were assessed by immunohistochemistry assay for apoptosis count. The blood samples drawn before and 72 hours after the burn injury were analyzed to determine systemic cytokine levels.
Results: The apoptosis count of the control group was found to be significantly higher than that of the experimental group. Vital tissue percentage of the stasis zone was significantly higher for the experimental group than for the control group. The cytokine levels did not reveal any statistically significant difference between the groups.
Conclusion: Apoptosis count and scintigraphic results of this study confirm that mesenchymal stem cell treatment has a statistically significant benefit for the survival of the stasis zone in acute burn.