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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jun 20, 1995; 92(13): 5982–5986.

On the mechanism of skin wound "contraction": a granulation tissue "knockout" with a normal phenotype.


This report explores the mechanism of spontaneous closure of full-thickness skin wounds. The domestic pig, often used as a human analogue for skin wound repair studies, closes these wounds with kinetics similar to those in the guinea pig (mobile skin), even though the porcine dermis on the back is thick and nearly immobile. In the domestic pig, as in the guinea pig, daily full-thickness excisions of the central granulation tissue up to but not including the wound edges in both back and flank wounds do not alter the rate or completeness of wound closure or the final pattern of the scar. A purse-string mechanism of closure was precluded by showing that surgical interruption of wound edge continuity does not alter closure kinetics or wound shape. We conclude that "tightness" of skin is not a key factor nor is the central granulation tissue required for normal wound closure. These data imply that in vitro models such as contraction of isolated granulation tissue or of the cell-populated collagen lattice may not be relevant for understanding the cell biology of in vivo wound closure. Implications for the mechanism for wound closure are discussed.

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