Date of Graduation

Spring 2012


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Paul Durham


Cutaneous thermal wounds result in significant tissue damage with loss of epidermis, nerve fibers, and vascular tissue, which increases healing time. Neuropeptides released by sensory neurons are implicated in the wound healing process. The 37-amino acid neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a multifunctional protein that promotes vasodilation and proliferation of keratinocytes and endothelial cells. Based on the distribution of CGRP and its receptor in adult CD Hairless rats, we hypothesized that topical administration of CGRP to a cutaneous thermal wound would increase the rate of wound closure. Two 1.5 cm partial-thickness thermal wounds were created on the upper dorsal region of hairless rats (n = 6) by exposing tissues to 70o C water for 10 seconds. Each wound was covered with standard medical grade gauze and saturated with 2 ml CGRP solution (1 micrometer diluted in 0.9% saline) or saline immediately after wounding. Wound area was determined using ImageJ software from photographs taken daily until full wound closure. Significantly, wounds treated with CGRP had full wound closure on average 6 days sooner than saline treated wounds (15 days vs. 21 days). In addition, at time of wound closure, the morphology of CGRP treated wounds more closely resembled unwounded tissues with respect to the amount of epithelialization, granulation tissue, and scaring when compared to saline treated wounds. Results from my study provide evidence that topical administration of CGRP to a cutaneous thermal wound promotes wound closure and morphological changes consistent with healthy wound healing.


thermal wound, bandage, cutaneous, CGRP, neuropeptides, nerves

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© Darin Thomas Dieckhoff

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