The wound-healing potential of autologous bonemarrow-derived nucleated cells was evaluated infull-thickness skin wounds in the thoracolumbarregion of 20 clinically healthy rabbits. Three woundsof 2 x 2 cm, one on the left side and two right of themidline, were created on the dorsal lumbar regionof each rabbit under xylazine-ketamine anaesthesia.The wounds of each animal were randomly assignedto one of three treatments: injection of autologousbone marrow-derived cells into wound margins (BI),topical application of bone marrow-derived cellsover the wound surface (BT) or 5 per cent povidoneiodine solution (PI) (control). Wounds were observedfor 28 days for granulation tissue formation, woundcontraction, histomorphological and histochemicalevaluation, and time to complete healing. The mean(se) time to appearance of granulation tissue wassignificantly less in BI-treated wounds (3·22 [0·22] days)than the BT-treated (3·89 [0·40] days) and PI-treated(4·89 [0·47] days) groups. On days 14 and 21 aftersurgery, wound contraction was significantly (P<0·05)higher in BI-treated wounds (73·00 and 97·35 per cent)than in those treated with BT (58·75 and 84·87 per cent)and PI (54·84 and 84·60 per cent). Histomorphologicalfindings showed an earlier disappearance ofinflammatory reaction, better epithelialisation,significantly more neovascularisation, more fibroplasiaand collagenation, and earlier histological maturation inBI- and BT-treated wounds than in control wounds.