Main content area

Development of tensile strength methodology for murine skin wound healing

Bellare, Anuj, Epperly, Michael W., Greenberger, Joel S., Fisher, Renee, Glowacki, Julie
MethodsX 2018 v.5 pp. 337-344
animal models, biomechanics, mice, protocols, tensile strength, tensiometers, tissue repair
In this study, a methodology was evaluated and improved to quickly measure the tensile strength of murine skin in a biomechanical assay for an incisional wound healing model. The aim was to streamline and enhance the wound model, skin specimen preparation, and tensile test so that large numbers of fresh tissue could be tested reliably and rapidly. Linear incisions of 25-mm length were made in the dorsal skin of mice along the spine and metallic staples were used to close the wound. After 20 days, the mice were sacrificed, and a square-shaped section of skin containing the linear incision was excised. Two metallic punches were fabricated and used to punch 15-mm long strips of skin of 2 mm width whose length was orthogonal to the direction of incision. The tensiometer configuration was modified to expedite tensile measurements on fresh skin, and load-to-failure was measured for each strip of skin from the cephalad to the caudal region. We evaluated sources of error in the animal model and the testing protocol and developed procedures to maximize speed and reproducibility in tensile strength measurements. This report provides guidance for efficient and reproducible tensile strength measurement of large numbers of skin specimens from freshly sacrificed animals.Tattoo placement to identify the two ends of the healing incisional wound assisted in decreasing error in the position and orientation of tensile strips. Custom-made punches to prepare skin strips for tensile testing helped conduct tensile tests of fresh tissue rapidly. Alteration of the manual grips of the tensile tester enabled specimens to be gripped rapidly to significantly accelerate testing for each skin strip.