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Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today. 2012 Sep;96(3):248-57. doi: 10.1002/bdrc.21016.

Elastin signaling in wound repair.

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School of Molecular Bioscience, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


Skin is an important organ to the human body as it functions as an interface between the body and environment. Cutaneous injury elicits a complex wound healing process, which is an orchestration of cells, matrix components, and signaling factors that re-establishes the barrier function of skin. In adults, an unavoidable consequence of wound healing is scar formation. However, in early fetal development, wound healing is scarless. This phenomenon is characterized by an attenuated inflammatory response, differential expression of signaling factors, and regeneration of normal skin architecture. Elastin endows a range of mechanical and cell interactive properties to skin. In adult wound healing, elastin is severely lacking and only a disorganized elastic fiber network is present after scar formation. The inherent properties of elastin make it a desirable inclusion to adult wound healing. Elastin imparts recoil and resistance and induces a range of cell activities, including cell migration and proliferation, matrix synthesis, and protease production. The effects of elastin align with the hallmarks of fetal scarless wound healing. Elastin synthesis is substantial in late stage in utero and drops to a trickle in adults. The physical and cell signaling advantages of elastin in a wound healing context creates a parallel with the innate features of fetal skin that can allow for scarless healing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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