The response to major burn injury includes systemic release of mediators that may have an effect on wound healing. The authors evaluated the effect of a burn injury on the contraction of an excisional wound adjacent to the burn, and the effect of plasma derived from burn-injured animals on the contraction of the fibroblast-populated collagen matrix (FPCM). Nine rats (90-100 days old) under anesthesia received a standardized 40% total body surface area burn to the dorsum, and eight rats (controls) were sham burned. Immediately thereafter all animals had a square (2.25 cm2) of unburned dermis excised from the dorsum, superior to the burn wound. The excisional wound area was measured at 2 to 3-day intervals postoperatively. Plasma was collected from some animals on postburn day 15; the contraction-stimulating ability of burn vs. control plasma was measured in the FPCM. All animals remained free of sepsis. The excisional wound area in all animals decreased to 50% and then 25% of the initial area after approximately 4 and 8 days respectively. The rate of wound contraction (i.e., wound area reduction) did not differ between burn and control animals. Contraction stimulated by 5% plasma in the FPCM (expressed as a percentage of the original matrix area) was 70.2 ± 6.4 (standard deviation) mm2 vs. 62.4 ± 3.9 mm2 for burn vs. control rats respectively (p > 0.05). Burn injury in this model did not alter the contraction of an excisional wound at an unburned site. There was no significant difference in the contraction-stimulating ability (FPCM model) of plasma from the burned rats compared with plasma from unburned control rats. Burn injury appears to have an inconsequential effect on the contraction of an adjacent wound.
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