- The role of growth factors and cytokines in the impaired healing of chronic leg ulcers remains uncertain. The aim of this study was to determine whether changes in the amount and location of cytokines and growth factors may be associated with impaired healing in chronic leg ulcers. Biopsies from leg ulcers of 21 patients and from normal skin of nine healthy volunteers were examined immunohistochemically for selected growth factors and cytokines. Greater staining intensity was found in keratinocytes at the edges of ulcers compared to normal skin, or skin adjacent to the ulcers. Staining at the ulcer edge was more intense in nonhealing ulcers for only vascular endothelial growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor, whereas staining in the adjacent skin was more intense for all factors in the nonhealing phase. For all factors staining was cytoplasmic, suggesting production in these areas. This study shows up-regulation of the production of cytokines and growth factors in keratinocytes of chronic leg ulcers that is greater when the ulcers are nonhealing.