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J Cell Sci. 2005 Jun 1;118(Pt 11):2363-70.

Heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor accelerates keratinocyte migration and skin wound healing.

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Department of Dermatology, Ehime University School of Medicine, Ehime 791-0295, Japan.


Members of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family are the most important growth factors involved in epithelialization during cutaneous wound healing. Heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF), a member of the EGF family, is thought to play an important role in skin wound healing. To investigate the in vivo function of HB-EGF in skin wound healing, we generated keratinocyte-specific HB-EGF-deficient mice using Cre/loxP technology in combination with the keratin 5 promoter. Studies of wound healing revealed that wound closure was markedly impaired in keratinocyte-specific HB-EGF-deficient mice. HB-EGF mRNA was upregulated at the migrating epidermal edge, although cell growth was not altered. Of the members of the EGF family, HB-EGF mRNA expression was induced the most rapidly and dramatically as a result of scraping in vitro. Combined, these findings clearly demonstrate, for the first time, that HB-EGF is the predominant growth factor involved in epithelialization in skin wound healing in vivo and that it functions by accelerating keratinocyte migration, rather than proliferation.

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