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Enhanced cutaneous wound healing by positively charged cross-linked diethylaminoethyl dextran beads (CLOD) was studied in a standardized incisional wound model in 20 adult and 20 geriatric 111acaca mulatta (rhesus) partitioned equally over five time periods. Physiologic saline served as a control. Soft-tissue linear incisions were prepared between and l cm inferior to the scapulae. There were four incisions per rhesus; each incision was 1.5 cm long with 1 cm of undisturbed tissue between incisions, and both the experimental CLDD and physiologic saline treatments were administered to each rhesus. The incision treatments were either CLDD and soft-tissue closure with 4-0 BioSyn sutures or sterile physiologic saline and closure with 4-0 BioSyn smures. The hypothesis was CLDD would enhance cutaneous wound repair. Verification of the h ypothesis consisted of clinical examinations and histologic and tensiometric evaluations on biopsy specimens at 10 and 15 days, whereas 5-day and 2- and 4-month groups were assessed clinically and biopsy specimens were assessed histolog"ically. The clinical course of healing for all groups was unremarkable. At 10 days, incisions in adult rhesus treated with CLDD had a 30-percent greater tensile strength compared with the physiologic saline-treated incisions (p = 0.01), whereas for geriatric rhesus, the CLDD treatment proved to be 15 percent greater in tensile strength compared with the physiologic saline cohort (p = 0.11). By day 15, incisions in adult rhesus were 26 percent stronger than the saline treatment group (/J = 0.07), and the difference was 36 percent (p = 0.02) for the geriatric rhesus. From 5 through 15 days, histologic observations revealed a gradual decrease in quantity and integrity of CLOD, with no remnants ofCLDD at either 2 or 4 months. Macrophages and multinucleated giant cells wer.e localized in the dermis and were associated with the CLDD. These cells decreased commensurately with the decrease of CLDD beads. The data suggest that CLDD can enhance significantly the tensile properties of healing cutaneous wounds in both adult and geriatric rhesus. Moreover, if the wound healing is enhanced in geriatric patients, this finding may be clinically germane to conditions where wound healing is compromised, such as in diabetics and patients on steroids.


Originally published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 102:7, 2395-2403, 1998.

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