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Dev Biol. 1991 Sep;147(1):207-15.

Immunohistochemical localization of growth factors in fetal wound healing.

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Department of Cell and Structural Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, United Kingdom.


Fetal wound healing occurs rapidly, in a regenerative fashion, and without scar formation, by contrast with adult wound healing, where tissue repair results in scar formation which limits tissue function and growth. The extracellular matrix deposited in fetal wounds contains essentially the same structural components as that in the adult wound but there are distinct differences in the spatial and temporal distribution of these components. In particular the organization of collagen in the healed fetal wound is indistinguishable from the normal surrounding tissue. Rapidity of healing, lack of an inflammatory response, and an absence of neovascularization also distinguish fetal from adult wound healing. The mechanisms controlling these differing processes are undefined but growth factors may play a critical role. The distribution of growth factors in healing fetal wounds is unknown. We have studied, by immunohistochemistry, the localization of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), transforming growth factor beta (TGF beta), and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), in fetal, neonatal, and adult mouse lip wounds. TGF beta and bFGF were present in neonatal and adult wounds, but were not detected in the fetal wounds, while PDGF was present in fetal, neonatal, and adult wounds. This pattern correlates with the known effects in vitro of these factors, the absence of an inflammatory response and neovascularization in the fetal wound, and the patterns of collagen deposition in both fetal and adult wounds. The results suggest that it may be possible to manipulate the adult wound to produce more fetal-like, scarless, wound healing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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