Background: Although previous studies have suggested that lavender oil promote wound healing, no study has examined the molecular mechanisms of its effect. In this study, we investigated the effect of lavender oil on various steps of wound healing and its molecular mechanism, focusing on transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β).
Methods: Circular full-thickness skin wounds were produced on rats. Control solution or lavender oil was topically applied to the wounds on alternating days for 14 days.
Results: The area of wounds topically treated with lavender oil was significantly decreased as compared to that of wounds of control rats at 4, 6, 8, and 10 days after wounding. Topical application of lavender oil induced expression of type I and III collagen at 4 days after wounding, accompanied by an increased number of fibroblasts, which synthesize collagen. Induced expression of type III collagen by topical application of lavender oil was reduced to control level at 7 days after wounding although increased expression of type I collagen still continued even at 7 days, suggesting rapid collagen replacement from type III to type I in wounds treated with lavender oil. Importantly, expression of TGF-β in wounds treated with lavender oil was significantly increased as compared to control. Moreover, an increased number of myofibroblasts was observed in wounds treated with lavender oil at 4 days after wounding, suggesting promotion of differentiation of fibroblasts through induction of TGF-β, which is needed for wound contraction.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that topical application of lavender oil promoted collagen synthesis and differentiation of fibroblasts, accompanied by up-regulation of TGF-β. These data suggest that lavender oil has the potential to promote wound healing in the early phase by acceleration of formation of granulation tissue, tissue remodeling by collagen replacement and wound contraction through up-regulation of TGF-β. The beneficial effect of lavender oil on wound healing may raise the possibility of new approaches as complementary treatment besides conventional therapy.
Keywords: Collagen; Complementary and alternative medicine; Lavender oil; TGF-β; Wound healing.