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Yonsei Med J. 2001 Dec;42(6):634-45.

Gene therapy of scarring: a lesson learned from fetal scarless wound healing.

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  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Second Medical University, 639 Zhizaoju Road, Shanghai, 200011, P.R.China.


Cutaneous wounding in adult humans and higher vertebrate animals results in scar formation. In contrast, both human and animal fetuses, at early gestational ages, exhibit skin wound healing without scarring. This distinction suggests that the repair of adult wounds by skin regeneration, rather than by fibrosis, may be achieved if adult wounds can be modified to mimic the healing process of fetal wounds. The development of gene therapy offers the possibility to specifically enhance or block the gene expression of cytokines and extracellular molecules, and thus convert adult wound healing into a healing process more similar to tissue regeneration. This article reviews the characteristics of fetal wound repair focusing on cytokine profiles and the inflammatory response to dermal injury. Also included are new developments in gene transfer techniques as well as their application in wound healing. Finally, the authors propose possible strategies of wound gene therapy, to reduce wound scarring and to promote tissue regeneration.

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