Objective: Arginase plays important regulatory roles in polyamine, ornithine, and nitric oxide syntheses. However, its role in the healing process has not been delineated. In this study, we used a highly potent and specific inhibitor of arginase, namely 2(S)-amino-6-boronohexanoic acid NH4 (ABH) to evaluate the role of arginase function in wound healing. Materials and Methods: ABH or saline was applied topically to full thickness, dorsal, excisional wounds in C57BL/6 mice every 8 hours for 14 days post surgery and the rate of wound closure was estimated planimetrically. Wound tissue was harvested from mice sacrificed on postoperative days 3 and 7 and examined histologically. The extent of epithelial, connective, and granulation tissue present within the wound area was estimated histomorphometrically. The effect of ABH on wound arginase activity, production of nitric oxide metabolites (NO x), and presence of smooth muscle actin positive cells (myofibroblasts) was evaluated. Results: While arginase activity was inhibited in vivo, the rate of wound closure significantly increased 7 days post-surgery, (21 ± 4%: P <.01; Student t test) in ABH treated animals. This was accompanied by an early increase in wound granulation tissue and accumulation of NO x followed by enhanced re-epithelialization and localization of myofibroblasts beneath the wound epithelium. Conclusion: Arginase inhibition improves excisional wound healing and may be used to develop therapeutics for early wound closure.
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