Keratinocyte growth factor-2 (KGF-2), also described as fibroblast growth factor-10 (FGF-10), is a member of the fibroblast growth factor family. KGF-2 shares 57 per cent sequence homology to previously reported KGF-1 (FGF-7). In skin, both growth factors are expressed in the dermal compartment. KGF-1 and KGF-2 bind to the same receptor with high affinity, the KGFR isoform of FGFR2, which is exclusively expressed by epithelial cells. This study examines the in vivo function of topically applied KGF-2 on wound healing using an ischaemia-impaired rabbit dermal ulcer model, in young and aged animals. Histological analysis of the wounds showed that KGF-2 significantly promoted re-epithelialization in both young and old animals. Similar results have been observed with KGF-1 in this model. In addition, KGF-2 enhanced granulation tissue formation in both young and old rabbits, a biological effect not found with KGF-1, suggesting a possible indirect mechanism which enhances neo-granulation tissue formation. Immunohistological staining of day 7 wounds with proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) antibody demonstrated a significant increase of dermal cell proliferation in KGF-2-treated wounds compared with placebo wounds. These results suggest a mesenchymal-epithelial interaction that is mediated by a paracrine feedback loop of KGF-2. Because of the wound healing impairment observed with ageing, the wound healing response to KGF-2 was also studied in ischaemic wounds of aged animals. Administration of KGF-2 led to significant stimulation of epithelial growth and granulation tissue formation. The effects seen in the old animals were delayed compared with the young animals. Lastly, the effect of KGF-2 was examined in a rabbit model of scar formation. Quantification of scar elevation index showed no significant differences in scar formation when KGF-2 was compared with buffer placebo. Compared with other growth factors, including KGF-1 and TGF-beta which have previously been examined in these models, KGF-2 is the most effective and causes no obvious scarring.
Copyright 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.