The effects of plasminogen deficiency on the healing of tympanic membrane perforations
Abstract: The healing of tympanic membrane (TM) perforations is a complex wound healing process including inflammation, migration of keratinocytes and tissue remodelling. Most TM perforations in human heal spontaneously, however some perforations become chronic, and the reason to why is still largely unknown. In cutaneous wound healing plasminogen (plg) has been shown to play an important role. Plg is converted into the protease plasmin regulated by two plasminogen activators (PA), urokinase type PA (uPA) and tissue-type PA (tPA).The aim of the present thesis was to evaluate the role of plg in healing of TM perforations, both in vivo and in vitro. The main objectives were to determine the healing capacity of the TM, the involvement of keratinocytes, fibrin(ogen) and inflammatory cells in the healing process. The studies were performed in plg deficient and uPA deficient mice, with littermate wild type (wt) mice as controlsIt was shown that myringotomies of the TMs in plg deficient mice still remained open 143 days following a perforation. The wound area was characterized by an abundant recruitment and accumulation of inflammatory cells; mainly macrophages and neutrophils, an arrested keratinocyte migration and a fibrin deposition covering the surface of the TM. The TM perforations in the wt mice all healed within 11 days. Interestingly, the myringotomies of the plg deficient mice could be closed by reconstitution with systemic injections of plg, whereas injections of PBS had no affect on the healing.To characterize mechanisms involved in the development of persistent TM perforations in plg deficient mice after a myringotomy the early inflammatory response during the first 48 hours was studied. The recruitment and accumulation of inflammatory cells in the perforated TMs was found to be similar between the plg deficient and the wt mice.Myringotomized TMs in uPA deficient mice healed similar to perforations of wt controls. Neither did the keratinocyte migration nor the occurrence of inflammatory cells differ between these genotypes.In the in vitro experiments TMs from plg deficient and wt mice, were dissected out, perforated and cultured in absence or surplus of plg. A decrease in perforation size was seen in all groups regardless of genotype or amount of plg in the medium.In conclusion, the present studies show:• Plg is essential for the healing of TM perforations in mice.• The altered healing process after a myringotomy in plg deficient mice involves a disturbed keratinocyte migration, a massive deposition of fibrin and an abundant accumulation of inflammatory cells in the wound area.• Plasminogen deficiency does not alter the early inflammatory response, following a myringotomy.• Deficiency of uPA does not influence the healing of TM perforations.• During in vitro conditions healing of TM perforations is initiated irrespectively of genotype of the explant (plg deficient or wt) or supply of plg.The increased knowledge of the involvement of plg in the healing of TM perforations may open therapeutical possibilities in the treatment of chronic TM perforations in humans.
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