BACKGROUND: Application of neutralising antibodies (NAs) to transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF beta 1) improves wound healing in experimental glomerulonephritis and dermal incision wounds. TGF beta 1 has been detected in the stomach, but despite the fact that this cytokine plays a central part in wound healing no information is available to determine if modulation of the TGF beta 1 profile influences the healing of gastric ulcers. This study examines gastric ulcer healing in the rat after local injection of NAs to TGF beta 1. METHOD: Chronic gastric ulcers were induced in Wistar rats by the application of 100% acetic acid to the serosal surface of the stomach. Immediately after ulcer induction and on day 2, NAs to TGF beta 1 (50 micrograms), TGF beta 1 (50 ng), saline or control antibodies (IgG; 50 micrograms) were locally injected into the subserosa. Controls received no subserosal injections. Animals were killed on day 5 or 11, the ulcer area was measured planimetrically, sections were embedded in paraffin wax, and stained with trichrome or haematoxylin and eosin. Depth of residual ulcer was assessed on day 11 by a scale of 0-3, the percentage of connective tissue was determined by a semiquantitative matrix score and granulocytes and macrophages in the ulcer bed were also assessed. RESULTS: The application of NAs to TGF beta 1 led to a significant acceleration of gastric ulcer healing on day 11 (0.6 (SD 0.8) v 3.7 (SD 2.6) mm2), a reduction in macrophages (23.7 (SD 22.6) v 38 (26) per 40 x power field) and granulocytes (8.5 (SD 5.6) v 20 (10) per 40 x power field), fewer histological residual ulcers (mean 1 (SD 0.9) v 2 (1.1)), a reduced matrix score, and a regenerative healing pattern. Excessive scarring was seen in the TGF beta 1 treated group. CONCLUSION: Further treatment of gastric ulcers may induce a new treatment modality by local injection of NA to TGF beta 1 in an attempt to accelerate and improve ulcer healing.
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