Objective: To compare the healing of full-thickness skin punch wounds treated with topical autologous platelet gel (APG) vs conventional therapy (antibiotic ointment and/or occlusive dressings) in healthy volunteers.
Methods: A prospective, single-blind, pilot study comprising 80 full-thickness skin punch wounds (4 mm diameter) was conducted on the thighs of 8 healthy volunteers. With each subject serving as his or her own control (5 punch sites per leg), APG was applied topically on one thigh, and an antibiotic ointment and/or a semiocclusive dressing was applied on the other thigh. Healing was monitored for spontaneous wound closure by clinical assessment and by digital photographs over 6 months. Over 35 days, 64 serial dermal biopsy specimens (6 mm diameter) were analyzed (using hematoxylin-eosin, Mason trichrome, CD-34, and Ki-67 stains) to measure differences between treated and control sites for cellularity, granulation formation, vascularity, epithelialization, and cellular replication.
Results: Over a 42-day period, the APG-treated sites had statistically increased wound closure compared with controls by visual clinical assessment and by digital planimetry photographic measurements (P<or=.02). On day 17, the percentage of closure was 81.1% +/- 2.5% (mean +/- SE) for the APG-treated sites and 57.2% +/- 5.9% for the control sites. Also, the APG wound closure velocities were significantly faster than those of the controls (P = .001). Histologically, over time, the APG-treated sites had similar cellularity, cellular replication, granulation tissue, vascularity, and epithelialization compared with controls. However, when the platelet count in the gel was more than 6 times the baseline intravascular platelet count in some subjects, epithelialization and granulation formation appeared 3 days earlier in the APG-treated group. Furthermore, in vitro testing of supplemental APG showed increased endothelial cell proliferation compared with controls (P<.04).
Conclusion: This pilot study provides preliminary evidence that topical APG may hasten wound closure in full-thickness dermal wounds in healthy individuals.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00199992.