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Overweight induced by high-fat diet delays rat cutaneous wound healing

  • Adriana P. Nascimento (a1) and Andréa M. A. Costa (a1)

Prolonged wound healing is a complication that contributes to morbidity and mortality. Overweight people regularly undergo surgery and trauma, and often develop chronic wounds, but the effects of the adipose tissue excess on cutaneous wound healing are not well understood. This study tested the hypothesis that overweight induced by a high-fat diet impairs rat cutaneous wound healing. Male Wistar rats were fed with either a high-fat or a standard (control) diet. After 15 weeks, an excisional lesion was done and the animals were killed 21 d later. Wound contraction and re-epithelialization, blood pressure, glucose and retroperitoneal fat were evaluated. After killing, lesion and adjacent normal skin were formol-fixed and paraffin-embedded. Inflammatory infiltrate, myofibroblasts, collagen fibres and cellular proliferation were analysed and blood vessels were evaluated using stereological methods. There was no difference in blood pressure and glucose, but retroperitoneal fat increased in the high-fat diet group. Animals fed with the high-fat diet presented delayed wound contraction and re-epithelialization. It was found that 21 d after wounding, overweight induced by a high-fat diet increased the inflammatory infiltrate and delayed myofibroblastic differentiation, collagen deposition, epithelial and connective tissue cell proliferation, and angiogenesis. These findings support the hypothesis that a high-fat diet exerts negative effects on rat cutaneous wound healing, due mainly to the prolongation of the inflammatory phase.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Dr. Andréa Monte Alto Costa, fax +55 21 2587 6511, email
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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
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