Differential effects of Losartan and Atorvastatin in partial and full thickness burn wounds

Johanneke J. Akershoek, Katrien M. Brouwer, Marcel Vlig, Bouke K.H.L. Boekema, Rob H.J. Beelen, Esther Middelkoop, Magda M.W. Ulrich

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Healing of burn wounds is often associated with scar formation due to excessive inflammation and delayed wound closure. To date, no effective treatment is available to prevent the fibrotic process. The Renin Angiotensin System (RAS) was shown to be involved in fibrosis in various organs. Statins (e.g. Atorvastatin), Angiotensin receptor antagonists (e.g. Losartan) and the combination of these drugs are able to reduce the local RAS activation, and reduced fibrosis in other organs. We investigated whether inhibition of the RAS could improve healing of burn wounds by treatment with Atorvastatin, Losartan or the combination of both drugs. Therefore, full and partial thickness burn wounds were inflicted on both flanks of Yorkshire pigs. Oral administration of Atorvastatin, Losartan or the combination was started at post-burn day 1 and continued for 28 days. Full thickness wounds were excised and transplanted with an autologous meshed split-thickness skin graft at post-burn day 14. Partial thickness wounds received conservative treatment. Atorvastatin treatment resulted in enhanced graft take and wound closure of the full thickness wounds, faster resolution of neutrophils compared to all treatments and reduced alpha-smooth muscle actin positive cells compared to control treatment. Treatment with Losartan and to a lesser extent the combination therapy resulted in diminished graft take, increased wound contraction and poorer scar outcome. In contrast, Losartan treatment in partial thickness wounds decreased the alpha-smooth muscle actin+ fibroblasts and contraction. In conclusion, we showed differential effects of Losartan and Atorvastatin in full and partial thickness wounds. The extensive graft loss seen in Losartan treated wounds is most likely responsible for the poor clinical outcome of these full thickness burn wounds. Therefore, Losartan treatment should not be started before transplantation in order to prevent graft loss. Atorvastatin seems to accelerate the healing process in full thickness wounds possibly by dampening the proinflammatory response.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0179350
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

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