Skin grafts are commonly utilized and proven effective methods of open wound coverage. Revascularization through neoangiogenesis is a pivotal mechanism for skin graft integration and durability. Extracorporeal shock-wave treatment (ESWT) has been demonstrated to accelerate wound repair; however, its mechanism-of-action is unclear. We investigated the role of ESWT in early revascularization of full-thickness skin isografts in a murine model. Cohorts of mice were euthanized and skin grafts were harvested 6 h, 2, 4, and 7 days post grafting ± ESWT. Various aspects of graft neovascularization were measured including gross morphology, quantitative microscopy (vessel number, density), immunohistochemistry (CD31), cDNA SuperArrays for 84 angiogenesis-specific genes, and custom-designed 'Wound Repair' TaqMan® Low Density Array (TLDA) cards to assess expression of 188 wound repair genes. We demonstrate that a single administration of ESWT immediately following skin grafting significantly enhances recipient graft revascularization (increased vessel number, size, and density). An augmented early pro-angiogenic and suppressed delayed pro-inflammatory response to ESWT was accompanied by significantly increased expression of both skin graft CD31 and angiogenesis pathway-specific genes, including ELR-CXC chemokines (CXCL1, CXCL2, CXCL5), CC chemokines (CCL2, CCL3, CCL4), cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, G-CSF, VEGF-A), matrix metalloproteinases (MMP3, MMP9, MMP13), hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF-1α), and vascular remodeling kinase (Mst1), as early as 6 h and up to 7 days post grafting and treatment. These findings suggest that early pro-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory effects of ESWT promote tissue revascularization and wound healing by augmenting angiogenesis and dampening inflammation.
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy
- Skin graft
- Wound healing