In this study, we examined the impact of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) on epithelialization, granulation tissue development, wound contraction, and alpha-smooth muscle actin (ASMA) expression during cutaneous wound repair through systemic administration of the synthetic broad-spectrum MMP inhibitor GM 6001 (N-[(2R)-2-(hydroxamidocarbonylmethyl)-4-methylpentanoyl]-L-tryptophan methylamide). Four full-thickness excisional wounds (50 mm2) on the back of 22 young female Sprague-Dawley rats, 12 treated with GM 6001 100 mg/kg and 10 with vehicle, were allowed to heal by secondary intention. GM 6001-treated wounds were minimally resurfaced with neoepithelium, despite unaltered keratinocyte proliferation in wound edges, whereas control wounds were completely covered with 3-7 cell layers of parakeratinized epithelium on post-wounding day 7. Hydroxyproline concentration, a marker of collagen, and cell proliferation in granulation tissue did not differ significantly between GM 6001-treated and control groups. Impaired wound contraction (P < 0.01) was associated with a dramatic reduction of ASMA-positive myofibroblasts in granulation tissue of GM 6001 wounds. This was not due to GM6001 blocking transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1)-induced myofibroblast differentiation since GM 6001 did not inhibit TGF-beta1-induced ASMA expression and force generation in cultured rat dermal fibroblasts. The profound impairment of skin repair by the nonselective MMP inhibitor GM 6001 suggests that keratinocyte resurfacing, wound contraction, and granulation tissue organization are highly MMP-dependent processes.
Copyright 2004 Elsevier Inc.