Intracutaneous injection of the macrophage-activating lipopeptide-2 (MALP-2) which accelerates wound healing in mice--a phase I trial in 12 patients

Exp Dermatol. 2008 Dec;17(12):1052-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2008.00750.x.


Chronic skin ulcers, such as leg ulcers, pressure sores and diabetic foot ulcers, are a challenge to physicians and medical personnel and a cause of tremendous discomfort and ensuing loss of quality of life to the patients. Wound healing involves production and action of various growth factors. A novel approach, distinct from the application of single growth factors, is the administration of the macrophage stimulator macrophage-activating lipopeptide-2 (MALP-2). The rationale is based on the finding that macrophages are the main source of several growth factors required for wound healing, which are sequentially released during this process. MALP-2 has previously been shown to be effective in an established animal model with diabetic mice. The purpose of the present phase I study was to establish tolerability of MALP-2 when applied into small cutaneous wounds in human beings. Twelve patients (six females and six males; mean age 66.8 years; range 52-87 years) with different diagnoses were enrolled into the study. An artificial wound was created with a 2-mm diameter skin biopsy punch and a volume of 30 microl MALP-2 (0.125-1 microg) or vehicle control, respectively, was injected intracutaneously into the wound and closed with a water-resistant transparent adhesive. Photos were taken daily from every patient up to 6 days, and skin biopsies were performed after 1 week from six patients. We could show in the present study for the first time that MALP-2 caused a transient erythema and was tolerated without any systemic side effects up to a dose of 1 microg per wound in human beings. In healthy as well as in diabetic patients, MALP-2 induced local inflammation that faded after 48 h. The effectiveness of MALP-2 in the healing of chronic wounds in humans, e.g. in chronic skin ulcers, such as leg ulcers, pressure sores and diabetic foot ulcers, could now be addressed in further studies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / metabolism
  • Chemokine CCL2 / metabolism
  • Collagen Type IV / metabolism
  • Erythema / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intradermal
  • Lipopeptides / administration & dosage
  • Lipopeptides / adverse effects
  • Lipopeptides / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • Wounds and Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Wounds and Injuries / metabolism
  • Wounds and Injuries / pathology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic
  • CCL2 protein, human
  • CD68 antigen, human
  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Collagen Type IV
  • Lipopeptides
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • macrophage stimulatory lipopeptide 2