Macrophages produce soluble mediators which modulate fibroblast growth during tissue repair. Interaction between tissue repair fibroblasts (TRC) and regulatory proteins from surgically elicited macrophages is important for peritoneal reepithelialization. In this study, we compared the effects of an extract from postsurgical macrophage spent medium with those of known growth factors on TRC collected from injured peritoneum to evaluate certain characteristics of macrophage secretory products on peritoneal healing. Rabbits underwent a midline laparotomy followed by resection and reanastomosis of the ileum or abrasion of the abdominal wall. TRC were then collected at various times after surgery. Peritoneal macrophages recovered from nonsurgical or postsurgical rabbits were cultured for 2 days in vitro. The peak of thymidine incorporation by TRC occurred On Day 5 after surgery; this gradually decreased with extended postsurgical times. Fibroblast growth factor and epidermal growth factor stimulated, whereas TGF-β inhibited, [3H]thymidine incorporation into TRC. Maximal thymidine incorporation occurred when TRC from Postsurgical Day 5 were cultured with an extract from postsurgical macrophage spent medium. However, when TRC recovered from Postsurgical Days 2 and 10 were cultured with an extract of postsurgical macrophage spent medium, they showed greater stimulation than Day 5 TRC. These data suggest that postsurgical macrophages may produce an array of factors that stimulate fibroblast growth and differentiation and may in turn affect tissue repair throughout the wound healing process.
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