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Significance of T-lymphocytes in wound healing

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Abstract To determine the importance of T-lymphocytes in wound healing, we examined the effect of T-lymphocyte depletion on the healing of surgical wounds. Thirty Balb/c mice were injected intraperitoneally with 1 mg of rat anti-mouse (IgG2b) cytotoxic monoclonal antibody (30H12) against the Thy 1.2 (all T) determinant. Twenty-four hours later animals showed a >95% depletion of Thy 1.2 cells in peripheral blood and spleen. Thirty control mice received nonspecific rat immunoglobulin (1 mg). Twenty-four hours after treatment mice underwent a 2.5 cm dorsal skin incision with subcutaneous placement of polyvinyl alcohol sponges. Injections were repeated at weekly intervals. Wound healing was assessed at 2, 3, and 4 weeks by the breaking strength of wound strips and by the hydroxyproline content of sponge granulomas (an index of wound reparative collagen deposition). Thy 1.2 depletion at death was 95% to 57% in peripheral blood and 86% to 68% in the spleen. Both groups gained weight equally. We found that T cell depletion significantly impairs wound breaking strength and wound collagen deposition at all times studied. The data strongly suggest that T-lymphocytes modulate fibroblast activity during normal wound healing.

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