Background: The authors examined the efficacy of adipose stem cells, when supplied either alone or in platelet-rich fibrin gels, to improve wound healing. Methods: A porcine full-thickness wound model was used to compare six topical treatments: platelet-poor plasma; platelet-rich plasma; autologous adipose stem cells plus platelet-poor plasma; autologous adipose stem cells plus platelet-rich plasma; allogeneic adipose stem cells containing green fluorescent protein plus platelet-poor plasma; and saline (control). One week after isolation, adipose stem cells were applied to full-thickness wounds on the paraspinal and thoracic regions of three pigs (44 wounds per pig; each treatment was applied to eight separate wounds). Each wound was monitored over 21 days for closure, cosmesis, and histopathology. Results: There was no significant difference in the reepithelialization rate, but treatments containing adipose stem cells demonstrated increased microvessel densities (31.75 ± 5.73 vessels/cm 2 versus 7.93 ± 3.61 vessels/cm) compared with groups without adipose stem cells. Wound cosmesis was improved in the adipose stem cell plus platelet-rich plasma group compared with other treatment groups (p < 0.05). Vascular endothelial growth factor levels detected in matrices containing adipose stem cells were approximately 7-fold higher compared with platelet-rich plasma or platelet-poor plasma (p < 0.05). Localization of transgenic green fluorescent protein plus adipose stem cells indicated incorporation near neovasculature. Conclusions: In normal healing wounds, adipose stem cells appear to enhance the healing process only when provided in a fibrin gel vehicle containing a number of complementary wound-healing trophic factors. Perivascular adipose stem cell localization suggests a function in enhancing blood supply through providing physical and paracrine support to newly forming vessels.
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