The role of growth factors in wound healing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

246 Scopus citations


Growth factors have many activities that make them attractive agents for stimulating tissue repair. Growth factors attract cells into the wound, stimulate their proliferation, and have profound influence on extracellular matrix deposition. Since developing the ability to mass-produce these cytokines by recombinant techniques, hundreds of studies have demonstrated that growth factors can augment all aspects of tissue repair in normal and impaired healing models. After demonstrating that growth factors augment healing, investigators have started to detect and measure growth factors in wounds and have found that wounding initiates the expression of various growth factors. Impaired healing has also been linked to altered growth factor production. These findings have prompted great interest in the use of growth factors to augment clinical healing. Preliminary clinical trials have not produced the results expected. Growth factor treatment has occasionally led to statistically significant improvements in tissue repair, but whether the results are clinically significant can be debated. It appears that to be cost effective, clinical trials must focus on targeting growth factors for specific types of impaired healing. Although growth factors have not been the panacea that was originally expected, they have the potential for making significant clinical improvements when targeted for specific problem wounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-167
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical trials
  • Cytokines
  • Epidermal growth factor
  • Fibroblast growth factor
  • Growth factors
  • Insulin-like growth factors
  • Platelet-derived growth factor
  • Transforming growth factor-α
  • Transforming growth factor-β
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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