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Wound Repair Regen. 2009 Jan-Feb;17(1):34-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-475X.2008.00439.x.

Delayed reepithelialization and basement membrane regeneration after wounding in mice lacking CXCR3.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


Wound healing is a complex, orchestrated series of biological events that is controlled by extracellular components that communicate between cell types to re-establish lost tissue. We have found that signaling by ELR-negative CXC chemokines through their common CXCR3 receptor is critical for dermal maturation during the resolving phase. In addition there needs to be complete maturation of the epidermis and regeneration of a delineating basement membrane for proper functioning. The role of this ligand-receptor system appears confounding as one ligand, CXCL4/(PF4), is present during the initial dissolution and two others, CXCL10/(IP-10) and CXCL11/(IP-9/I-TAC), are expressed by keratinocytes in the later regenerative and resolving phases during which the basement membrane is re-established. We examined CXCR3 signaling role in healing using a mouse lacking this receptor, as all three ligands act solely via the common receptor. Reepithelialization was delayed in CXCR3-deficient mice in both full and partial-thickness excisional wounds. Even at 90 days postwounding, the epidermis of these mice appeared less mature with lower levels of E-cadherin and cytokeratin 18. The underlying basement membrane, a product of both dermal fibroblasts and epidermal keratinocytes, was not fully established with persistent diffuse expression of the matrix components laminin 5, collagen IV, and collagen VII throughout the wound bed. These results suggest that CXCR3 and its ligands play an important role in the re-establishment of the basement membrane and epidermis. These studies further establish the emerging signaling network that involves the CXCR3 chemokine receptor and its ligands as a key regulator of wound repair.

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