Wound dehiscence, oftentimes a result of the poor tensile strength of early healing wounds, is a significant threat to the post-operative patient, potentially causing life-threatening complications. Vanadate, a protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor, has been shown to alter the organisation of deposited collagen in healing wounds and significantly improve the tensile strength of incisional wounds in rats. In this study, we sought to explore the effects of locally administered vanadate on tensile strength and collagen organisation in both the early and remodelling phases of excisional wound healing in a murine model. Wild-type mice underwent stented excisional wounding on their dorsal skin and were divided equally into three treatment conditions: vanadate injection, saline injection control and an untreated control. Tensile strength testing, in vivo suction Cutometer analysis, gross wound measurements and histologic analysis were performed during healing, immediately upon wound closure, and after 4 weeks of remodelling. We found that vanadate treatment significantly increased the tensile strength of wounds and their stiffness relative to control wounds, both immediately upon healing and into the remodelling phase. Histologic analysis revealed that these biomechanical changes were likely the result of increased collagen deposition and an altered collagen organisation composed of thicker and distinctly organised collagen bundles. Given the risk that dehiscence poses to all operative patients, vanadate presents an interesting therapeutic avenue to improve the strength of post-operative wounds and unstable chronic wounds to reduce the risk of dehiscence.
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