Scand J Plast Reconstr Surg Hand Surg 1994 Dec;28(4):255-9

Topical zinc oxide treatment increases endogenous gene expression of insulin-like growth factor-1 in granulation tissue from porcine wounds.

Tarnow P, Agren M, Steenfos H, Jansson JO.

Department of Plastic Surgery, Sahlgrenska Hospital, Goteborg, Sweden.

Application of zinc oxide has been shown to accelerate the healing of both chronic and acute wounds, but the mechanisms are unknown. We quantified the gene expression (mRNA) for one important growth factor, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in 12 full-thickness wounds in each of three domestic pigs treated with or without topical zinc oxide. We used a RNAase protection/solution hybridisation technique to measure IGF-1 mRNA concentrations, which were 50% higher in the granulation tissue in wounds treated with zinc oxide compared with control wounds on days 3-4 (p < 0.05), but not thereafter (up to postoperative day 11). Topical zinc oxide increased the healing rate of wounds compared to the control group (p < 0.01). The cell composition of the granulation tissue was similar in the two groups. The increased gene expression of IGF-1 may be one mechanism by which topical zinc oxide enhances wound healing.