composite biomaterials, full-thickness skin defects, GDF-5, minipig model, skin repair, wound healing



  1. Schiefer, Jennifer L. MD
  2. Held, Manuel MD
  3. Fuchs, Paul C. MD
  4. Demir, Erhan MD
  5. Ploger, Frank PhD, CPM
  6. Schaller, Hans-Eberhard MD
  7. Rahmanian-Schwarz, Afshin MD


BACKGROUND: A fast and stable wound closure is important, especially for extended and unstable wounds found after burn injuries. Growth can regulate a variety of cellular processes, including those involved in wound healing. Growth differentiation factor 5 (GDF-5) can accelerate fibroblast cell migration, cell proliferation, and collagen synthesis, which are essential for wound healing. Nevertheless, no standardized evaluation of the effect of GDF-5 on the healing of full-thickness wounds has been published to date.


METHODS: Five full-thickness skin defects were created on the backs of 6 minipigs. Three wounds were treated with GDF-5 in different concentrations with the help of a gelatin-collagen carrier, and 2 wounds served as control group. The first was treated with the gelatin carrier and an Opsite film (Smith & Nephew, Fort Worth, Texas), and the other was treated solely with an Opsite film that was placed above all wounds and renewed every second day.


RESULTS: Growth differentiation factor 5 accelerates wound closure (10.91 [SD, 0.99] days) compared with treatment with the carrier alone (11.3 [SD, 1.49] days) and control wounds (13.3 [SD, 0.94] days). Epidermal cell count of wounds treated with GDF-5 revealed a higher number of cells compared with the control group. In addition, mean epidermal thickness was significantly increased in GDF-5-treated wounds compared with the control wounds.


CONCLUSIONS: Because of its ability to improve skin quality, GDF-5 should be considered when developing composite biomaterials for wound healing.