CELL BIOLOGY: A Multistep Process of Healing

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Science  14 Apr 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5771, pp. 163b
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5771.163b

Delayed wound healing is a debilitating condition affecting millions of individuals, particularly diabetics; successful wound healing requires cell migration to cover the lesion. Skin has one layer of epidermal cells and another of dermal cells. In intact skin, cells are bathed in plasma, but after wounding, they are exposed to serum.

Bandyopadhyay et al. examined the effects of the switch from plasma to serum and the role of transforming growth factor-β3 (TGF-β3) on the motility of primary human skin cells. They found that human serum promotes the migration of epidermal cells and inhibits the migration of dermal cells, whereas plasma promotes dermal cell migration but not that of epidermal cells. These complementary effects are modulated by the high levels of TGF-β3 in serum and the high levels of TGF-β3 receptors on dermal cells. In contrast, plasma has only low levels of TGF-β3, and epidermal cells have low levels of TGF-β3 receptors. Depleting serum of TGF-β3 renders it plasma-like in promoting dermal cell migration. Similarly, changing the expression levels of TGF-β3 receptor switched the motile responses as predicted. Thus, the transition from plasma to serum and then back to plasma encourages the appropriate and sequential migratory responses in epidermal and dermal cell layers during healing. — SMH

J. Cell Biol. 172, 1093 (2006).

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