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J Invest Dermatol. 1988 Jun;90(6):790-5.

Urokinase- and tissue-type plasminogen activators in keratinocytes during wound reepithelialization in vivo.

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Department of Pathology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Urokinase- and tissue-type plasminogen activators (u-PA and t-PA) were identified immunohistochemically during reepithelialization of mouse and human skin wounds, by means of polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies. In incised mouse skin wounds u-PA immunoreactivity was found in keratinocytes at the edge of the wound after 12 h, and at days 2 to 10 after wounding it was found in virtually all keratinocytes of the epithelial outgrowth that gradually covered the wound. At day 14, the epidermis appeared normal and no u-PA immunoreactivity was detected. t-PA immunoreactivity was found from day 5 to day 10 in some keratinocytes located superficially in the epidermal outgrowths near the edge of the mouse wounds. In 3- and 5-day old human skin wounds, u-PA immunoreactivity was found in keratinocytes in the epithelial outgrowths, whereas no t-PA immunoreactivity was detected. No u-PA and no t-PA immunoreactivity was found in normal mouse and human epidermis. The specificity of the staining was supported by a variety of controls, including absorption of the polyclonal antibodies with highly purified u-PA and t-PA preparations and zymographic analysis of extracts of wound tissue. The function of the plasminogen activators during reepithelialization is discussed and it is suggested that the keratinocytes use plasmin activated by u-PA for dissecting their way through the provisional matrix in the upper part of the granulation tissue.

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