Transfection with aFGF cDNA improves wound healing

Liying Sun, Lan Xu, Henry Chang, Fleetwood A. Henry, Robert M. Miller, John M. Harmon, Thor B. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Somatic gene therapy is a potentially useful strategy for the delivery of growth factors or cytokines to enhance wound healing. Experimental excisional and incisional wounds in impaired-healing diabetic mice (db/db) were treated with aFGF and with a plasmid coding for aFGF. A eukaryotic expression plasmid composed of the Hst signal peptide sequence in-frame with the human aFGF sequence was used. Transfection of tissues was accomplished either by direct plasmid uptake or by uptake facilitated with cationic liposomes. The results show that the closure of excisional wounds was significantly accelerated (p < 0.05) by topical application of human recombinant aFGF or by transfection with the aFGF plasmid but not by vehicle or control plasmid not containing the aFGF sequence. In incisional wounds, aFGF or transfection with the plasmid significantly increased the wound-breaking strength compared to their corresponding controls (p < 0.05). Quantitative histology of the plasmid-treated incisional wound sections revealed improved wound quality. The transcription of mRNA from human aFGF cDNA in the incisional wound tissue extracts was confirmed by RT-PCR, and the expressed aFGF was detected by immune dot blot and immunohistochemistry assays. The transfection was a transient process with a peak at 9 d in db/+ (littermates of the diabetic mice) incisional wounds, at 36 d in db/db incisional wounds, and at 27 d in db/db excisional wounds. Cells transfected with human aFGF occupied up to 6.4% of the transectional area in the wound sites. Thus, aFGF gene delivery resulted in both gene expression and a functional improvement in healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-318
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • cytokine expression
  • diabetic mice
  • gene therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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