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Effect of unfocused extracorporeal shock wave therapy on growth factor gene expression in wounds and intact skin of horses

Kaitlyn A. Link1, Judith B. Koenig Dr vet med, DVSc2, Andressa Silveira DVM, DVSc3,4, Brandon L. Plattner DVM, PhD5, and Brandon N. Lillie DVM, PhD6
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, N1G 2W1 Guelph, ON, Canada.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, N1G 2W1 Guelph, ON, Canada.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, N1G 2W1 Guelph, ON, Canada.
  • | 4 Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Pontiphical Catholic University of Paraná, BR 376, São José dos Pinhais, PR, Brazil.
  • | 5 Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, N1G 2W1 Guelph, ON, Canada.
  • | 6 Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, N1G 2W1 Guelph, ON, Canada.

Abstract

Objective—To compare the effect of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) on expression of fibroblast growth factor-7 (FGF-7), transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), platelet-derived growth factor-A (PDGF), and vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF) in skin with surgically created skin wounds and intact skin in horses.

Animals—14 healthy horses.

Procedure—8 horses were treated with ESWT at 6 locations along the neck at 36, 24, 12, 6, 2, or 1 hour prior to collection of full-thickness biopsy specimens from each location; a control specimen was collected from a sham-treated location. In 6 horses, 5 full-thickness wounds were created in each forelimb. Wounds in 1 forelimb/horse received ESWT immediately after creation and subsequently on days 7, 14, and 21; wounds in the contralateral forelimb remained untreated. Biopsy specimens were collected from 1 wound on each forelimb on days 7, 14, 21, 28, and 35. Expression levels of FGF-7, TGF-β1, IGF-1, PDGF, and VEGF were assessed in tissue samples from the horses' necks and forelimbs.

Results—In surgically created wounds, ESWT treatment was associated with reduced TGF-β1 expression, compared with expression in control wounds, during the entire study period. At 28 days following wound creation, IGF-1 expression was significantly increased for treated and untreated wounds, compared with findings on days 7, 14, 21, and 35. There was no significant effect of treatment on FGF-7, TGF-β1, IGF-1, PDGF, or VEGF expression in intact skin.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Intervention with ESWT to suppress TGF-β1 may decrease granulation tissue production, resulting in improved wound healing on the distal portion of horses' limbs.

Contributor Notes

Supported in part by Equine Guelph.

The authors thank Gabrielle Monteith for assistance with the statistical analysis and Dr. Jutta Hammermueller for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Koenig (jkoenig@uoguelph.ca).