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BMC Physiol. 2008 Jan 31;8:1. doi: 10.1186/1472-6793-8-1.

Equine CTNNB1 and PECAM1 nucleotide structure and expression analyses in an experimental model of normal and pathological wound repair.

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Département de biomédecine vétérinaire, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, C,P, 5000, St-Hyacinthe, Québec, J2S 7C6, Canada.



Wound healing in horses is fraught with complications. Specifically, wounds on horse limbs often develop exuberant granulation tissue which behaves clinically like a benign tumor and resembles the human keloid in that the evolving scar is trapped in the proliferative phase of repair, leading to fibrosis. Clues gained from the study of over-scarring in horses should eventually lead to new insights into how to prevent unwanted scar formation in humans. cDNA fragments corresponding to CTNNB1 (coding for beta-catenin) and PECAM1, genes potentially contributing to the proliferative phase of repair, were previously identified in a mRNA expression study as being up-regulated in 7 day wound biopsies from horses. The aim of the present study was to clone full-length equine CTNNB1 and PECAM1 cDNAs and to study the spatio-temporal expression of mRNAs and corresponding proteins during repair of body and limb wounds in a horse model.


The temporal pattern of the two genes was similar; except for CTNNB1 in limb wounds, wounding caused up-regulation of mRNA which did not return to baseline by the end of the study. Relative over-expression of both CTNNB1 and PECAM1 mRNA was noted in body wounds compared to limb wounds. Immunostaining for both beta-catenin and PECAM1 was principally observed in endothelial cells and fibroblasts and was especially pronounced in wounds having developed exuberant granulation tissue.


This study is the first to characterize equine cDNA for CTNNB1 and PECAM1 and to document that these genes are expressed during wound repair in horses. It appears that beta-catenin may be regulated in a post-transcriptional manner while PECAM1 might help thoracic wounds mount an efficient inflammatory response in contrast to what is observed in limb wounds. Furthermore, data from this study suggest that beta-catenin and PECAM1 might interact to modulate endothelial cell and fibroblast proliferation during wound repair in the horse.

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