• Aloe barbadensis Miller;
  • cell proliferation;
  • epidermal growth factor receptor;
  • fibronectin receptor;
  • keratin;
  • raft culture

Background Aloe vera has been used as a family medicine for promoting wound healing, but it is not known which component of the plant is effective for this purpose.

Objectives To isolate and characterize the component effective in wound healing.

Methods Chromatography, electrophoresis and spectroscopic methods were used. The cell-proliferation activity of each component isolated was measured by a [3H]thymidine uptake assay. The cell-proliferation activity of the effective component was tested on a three-dimensional raft culture (cell culture technique by which artificial epidermis is made from keratinocytes). The effect of the active component on cell migration and wound healing was observed on a monolayer of human keratinocytes and in hairless mice.

Results A glycoprotein fraction was isolated and named G1G1M1DI2. It showed a single band on sodium dodecyl sulphate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, with an apparent molecular weight of about 5·5 kDa. It exhibited significant [3H]thymidine uptake in squamous cell carcinoma cells. The effect of G1G1M1DI2 on cell migration was confirmed by accelerated wound healing on a monolayer of human keratinocytes. When this fraction was tested on a raft culture, it stimulated the formation of epidermal tissue. Furthermore, proliferation markers (epidermal growth factor receptor, fibronectin receptor, fibronectin, keratin 5/14 and keratin 1/10) were markedly expressed at the immunohistochemical level. The glycoprotein fraction enhanced wound healing in hairless mice by day 8 after injury, with significant cell proliferation.

Conclusions It is considered that this glycoprotein fraction is involved in the wound-healing effect of aloe vera via cell proliferation and migration.