The effect of salivary gland extract of Lucilia sericata maggots on human dermal fibroblast proliferation within collagen/hyaluronan membrane in vitro: transmission electron microscopy study

Adv Skin Wound Care. 2015 May;28(5):221-6. doi: 10.1097/01.ASW.0000461260.03630.a0.


Background: Lucilia sericata maggots are applied to chronic wounds to aid healing when conventional treatments have failed. After their application into a necrotic wound, they potentially influence wound healing with a combination of specific proteinases that are involved in the remodeling of extracellular matrix. These proteases cause changes in fibroblast adhesion and spread upon extracellular matrix protein surfaces, affecting integrity of the protein surfaces-especially fibronectin-while maintaining cell viability.

Objective: This study focused on in vitro monitoring of the effect of homogenate substances prepared from maggot salivary gland of L sericata on the ultrastructure of human neonatal fibroblasts.

Methods: Collagen/hyaluronan membrane was used as the synthetic substitute of extracellular matrix. The cultured human neonatal fibroblasts B-HNF-1 were seeded on the surface of the collagen/hyaluronan membrane and cultured with maggot salivary gland extract (SGE) at a concentration of 2.4 glands/1 mL.

Results: The authors observed increased cell metabolism and protein production (euchromatic nucleus, voluminous nuclear membrane, large reticular nuclei, distended and filled cisterns of rough endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus with saccules, and vesicles packed with fine fibrillar material) after incubating the cells in culture medium with SGE.

Conclusion: The authors believe that increased cell metabolism and protein production corresponded with formation of microfibrillar net used for migration of fibroblasts in culture, but mainly for proper production of extracellular matrix. The authors suggest that their results may help explain the effect of SGE on wound healing and support implementation of maggot therapy into human medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Therapy / methods*
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Diptera*
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / physiology*
  • Fibroblasts / ultrastructure
  • Fibronectins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / metabolism
  • Larva
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Salivary Glands*
  • Tissue Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Wound Healing*


  • Fibronectins
  • Tissue Extracts
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Collagen