In vitro and in vivo wound healing-promoting activities of beta-lapachone

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2008 Oct;295(4):C931-43. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00266.2008. Epub 2008 Jul 23.


Impaired wound healing is a serious problem for diabetic patients. Wound healing is a complex process that requires the cooperation of many cell types, including keratinocytes, fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and macrophages. beta-Lapachone, a natural compound extracted from the bark of the lapacho tree (Tabebuia avellanedae), is well known for its antitumor, antiinflammatory, and antineoplastic effects at different concentrations and conditions, but its effects on wound healing have not been studied. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of beta-lapachone on wound healing and its underlying mechanism. In the present study, we demonstrated that a low dose of beta-lapachone enhanced the proliferation in several cells, facilitated the migration of mouse 3T3 fibroblasts and human endothelial EAhy926 cells through different MAPK signaling pathways, and accelerated scrape-wound healing in vitro. Application of ointment with or without beta-lapachone to a punched wound in normal and diabetic (db/db) mice showed that the healing process was faster in beta-lapachone-treated animals than in those treated with vehicle only. In addition, beta-lapachone induced macrophages to release VEGF and EGF, which are beneficial for growth of many cells. Our results showed that beta-lapachone can increase cell proliferation, including keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells, and migration of fibroblasts and endothelial cells and thus accelerate wound healing. Therefore, we suggest that beta-lapachone may have potential for therapeutic use for wound healing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / metabolism
  • Naphthoquinones / pharmacology*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Naphthoquinones
  • beta-lapachone
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases