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J Invest Dermatol. 2013 May;133(5):1321-9. doi: 10.1038/jid.2012.463. Epub 2012 Dec 6.

IL-22 promotes fibroblast-mediated wound repair in the skin.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Skin wound repair requires complex and highly coordinated interactions between keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and immune cells to restore the epidermal barrier and tissue architecture after acute injury. The cytokine IL-22 mediates unidirectional signaling from immune cells to epithelial cells during injury of peripheral tissues such as the liver and colon, where IL-22 causes epithelial cells to produce antibacterial proteins, express mucins, and enhance epithelial regeneration. In this study, we used IL-22(-/-) mice to investigate the in vivo role for IL-22 in acute skin wounding. We found that IL-22(-/-) mice displayed major defects in the skin's dermal compartment after full-thickness wounding. We also found that IL-22 signaling is active in fibroblasts, using in vitro assays with primary fibroblasts, and that IL-22 directs extracellular matrix (ECM) gene expression and myofibroblast differentiation both in vitro and in vivo. These data define roles of IL-22 beyond epithelial cross talk, and suggest that IL-22 has a previously unidentified role in skin repair by mediating interactions between immune cells and fibroblasts.

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