The goal of animal wound healing models is to replicate human physiology and predict therapeutic outcomes. There is currently no model of wound healing in rodents that closely parallels human wound healing. Rodents are attractive candidates for wound healing studies because of their availability, low cost, and ease of handling. However, rodent models have been criticized because the major mechanism of wound closure is contraction, whereas in humans reepithelialization and granulation tissue formation are the major mechanisms involved. This article describes a novel model of wound healing in mice utilizing wound splinting that is accurate, reproducible, minimizes wound contraction, and allows wound healing to occur through the processes of granulation and reepithelialization. Our results show that splinted wounds have an increased amount of granulation tissue deposition as compared to controls, but the rate of reepithelialization is not affected. Thus, this model eliminates wound contraction and allows rodents' wounds to heal by epithelialization and granulation tissue formation. Given these analogies to human wound healing, we believe that this technique is a useful model for the study of wound healing mechanisms and for the evaluation of new therapeutic modalities.
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