Objective: Surgical outcome following reconstructive pelvic surgery is largely dependent on the vaginal wound healing process. As peri- and post-menopausal women are the most likely candidates to undergo these surgeries, it is important to understand the effect of estrogen deficiency on this process. Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) is an important mediator of wound healing. We sought to assess TGFβ1 gene expression during the vaginal incisional wound healing process in a rabbit menopause model.
Design: Animal study.
Setting: Animal laboratory.
Sample: Sixty-three rabbits were used for this study.
Methods: Twenty-one underwent bilateral oophorectomy, 21 underwent a sham surgery, and 21 served as controls. Eight weeks later, standardised full-thickness 6-mm diameter circular segments were excised from the vagina of all rabbits. Animals were killed sequentially, before wounding, and at 0, 4, 7, 14, 21 and 35 days after wounding, and the wounds were harvested.
Main outcome measures: Wound closure and TGFβ1 gene transcription, as measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Results: Wound closure was significantly protracted (P < 0.02), whereas TGFβ1 gene expression was significantly increased (P < 0.0001) during the wound healing process in oophorectomised rabbits, as compared with both control and sham groups.
Conclusion: Oophorectomised rabbits show protracted incisional vaginal wound healing associated with increased TGFβ1 gene transcription.
© 2012 The Authors BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology © 2012 RCOG.