Objectives: The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of a topical application of virgin coconut oil (VCO) on excision wounds in young rats. Methods: Three sets of experiments with 3 groups of female Sprague-Dawley rats each consisting of 6 animals were used for studying wound closure time, antioxidant status and biochemical parameters. Group 1 was the control; groups 2 and 3 were treated with 0.5 and 1.0 ml VCO, respectively, 24 h after wound creation for 10 days. After the experimental period, the healing property of VCO was evaluated by monitoring the time taken for complete epithelization as well as levels of various parameters of the wound’s granulation tissue. The collagen solubility pattern, glycohydrolase activity, and histopathology of the granulation tissue were also analyzed. The antioxidant status during wound healing was monitored continuously for 14 days. Results: VCO-treated wounds healed much faster, as indicated by a decreased time of complete epithelization and higher levels of various skin components. Pepsin-soluble collagen showed a significant increase in VCO- treated wounds, indicating a higher collagen cross-linking. Glycohydrolase activities were also found to be increased due to a higher turnover of collagen. Antioxidant enzyme activities, and reduced glutathione and malondialdehyde levels were found to be increased on the 10th day after wounding, which were found to have returned to normal levels on day 14 in the treated wounds. The lipid peroxide levels were found to be lower in the treated wounds. A histopathological study showed an increase in fibroblast proliferation and neovascularization in VCO-treated wounds compared to controls. Conclusion: The beneficial effect of VCO can be attributed to the cumulative effect of various biologically active minor components present in it.
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