Greenbottle (Lucilia sericata) Larval Secretions Delivered from a Prototype Hydrogel Wound Dressing Accelerate the Closure of Model Wounds



The resurgence of larval biotherapy as a debridement tool in wound management has been accompanied by several clinical reports highlighting concomitant tissue regeneration. Studies employing in vitro cell motility assays have found that purified excretory/secretory (ES) products from Greenbottle larvae (blowfly, Lucilia sericata) are motogenic for human dermal fibroblasts when used as a supplement in culture media. The objective of the present study was to determine whether ES delivered using a prototype hydrogel wound dressing induced similar motogenic effects on fibroblastic (3T3) and epithelial cells (HaCaTs) comprising a scratched-monolayer wound model. Quantitative analysis by MTT assay failed to detect significant mitogenic effects of ES on either cell type. Quantitative image analysis revealed that ES exposure markedly accelerated wound closure through a motogenic effect on both fibroblasts and keratinocytes. Quantitative histochemical analysis detected significantly higher phosphotyrosine (pTyr) expression in ES-exposed cell cultures than in controls; moreover immunocytochemistry revealed conspicuously raised levels of pTyr expression in cells located at the wound margin. By attenuation with a panel of enzyme inhibitors these effects were attributed to the protease components of ES. The present results suggest that controlled delivery of ES as a follow-up to maggot debridement therapy may be an effective therapeutic option for stimulation of tissue regeneration in wound management.