Adipose tissue as a source of growth factors to promote wound healing: a human study of skin graft donor sites

Jenny F. López, Antti Mikkola, Jertta Riina Sarkanen, Ilkka S. Kaartinen, Hannu O. Kuokkanen, Timo Ylikomi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    OBJECTIVE: In the microenvironment of wound sites, naturally occurring growth factors are crucial for cell migration, opsonisation, chemotaxis, differentiation and angiogenesis. Exogenous growth factors, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and adipose tissue, also improve healing. METHOD: In the present within-subject study, we described the effects of PRP and adipose tissue extract (ATE) on skin graft donor site wound healing in patients requiring split-thickness skin grafts. Each patient, having at least two donor sites, received both control (no growth factor) and experimental (PRP or ATE) treatments. Wounds were evaluated on days 5, 7, 10, 15, 30 and 60. Digital photography and spectral images were used to analyse haemoglobin and melanin content, and re-epithelialisation area. Pain was assessed by visual analogue scale. Scar characteristics were scored on days 30 and 60. Biomaterial samples were analysed for growth factor and protein content. RESULTS: The study included 24 patients (18 male and six female; mean age: 59.1 years). PRP was topically applied to wounds in 11 patients (13 donor sites) and ATE in 13 patients (15 sites). ATE-treated donor sites exhibited significantly accelerated wound re-epithelialisation on days 5 and 7 compared with control sites (p=0.003 and 0.04, respectively). PRP accelerated healing on day 7 compared with control sites (p=0.001). Additionally, the application of ATE improved scar quality on days 30 and 60 (p=0.0005 and 0.02, respectively). Pain scores did not differ significantly between treatments. CONCLUSION: In this study, both growth factor sources stimulated wound healing. ATE is an alternative source of growth factors that promote early wound healing and improve scar quality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)282-292
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Wound Care
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2022
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • adipose tissue extract
    • growth factors
    • platelet-rich plasma
    • skin graft donor sites
    • wound
    • wound care
    • wound healing

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Fundamentals and skills
    • Nursing (miscellaneous)


    Dive into the research topics of 'Adipose tissue as a source of growth factors to promote wound healing: a human study of skin graft donor sites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this