Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.
The skin is a natural barrier between the interior milieu of the organism and its environment. This barrier has multiple physiological functions and may be affected by an array of pathologies including wounds and burns. The present study aims to determine the effect of the nervous system on wound healing. Specifically, this study tested the effect of denervation by chemical ablation on the burn wound healing process using guanethidine for denervation of the sympathetic postganglionic neurons and resiniferatoxin for denervation of the sensory capsaicin-sensitive fibres. Animals were divided into 8 different groups: (1) control group, (2) sensory denervated and burned, (3) sensory denervated non-burned, (4) sympathetic denervated and burned, (5) sympathetic denervated non-burned, (6) vehicle sensory burned, (7) vehicle sympathetic burned, (8) non-denervated burned. We measured different morphologic and biochemical parameters such as wound surface area, histological alterations and mast cells. In addition, NGF, IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8 levels were determined using the ELISA technique. The gross observations, the histological data including mast cell modulation, as well as the molecular data, speak in favour of a significant delay in burn wound healing caused by sensory denervation. On the other hand, results support the positive role of sympathetic denervation in speeding up the healing process. The dual effect of the nervous system on burn wound healing is being documented in an animal model for the first time.
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