Author(s): Nedelec B, Ghahary A, Scott PG, Tredget EE
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Although a substantial amount of molecular and cellular data have been generated in an effort to understand the process of wound contraction and scar contracture formation, questions remain. What seems apparent is that the myofibroblast is not the only cell that generates contractile forces within wounds, but it does appear to be intrinsically linked to the development of hypertrophic scars. The supposition that the formation of scar contractures is solely the result of a continuation of wound contraction is an oversimplification. Figure 4 provides a model of the possible evolution of contractile forces during the wound healing process and their role in the development of scar contractures. Migration of fibroblasts into and through the extracellular matrix during the initial phase of wound healing, prior to the expression of alpha-SMA, appears to be a fundamental component of wound contraction. During this migration, the pulling of collagen fibrils into a streamlined pattern in their wake, and the associated production of collagenase, may facilitate a more normal arrangement of collagen. Once the wound has been repopulated and the chemotactic gradient that was established by inflammatory cells is decreased, fibroblast migration will cease. It is at this point that myofibroblasts appear and play a key role in the production of hypertrophic scars, given that their prolonged presence and over-representation are hallmarks of this pathology. One of the pivotal differences between wounds that proceed to normal scar compared with those that develop hypertrophic scars and scar contractures may be a lack (or late induction) of myofibroblast apoptotic cell death. The combined contribution of fibroblasts and myofibroblasts to abnormal extracellular matrix protein production results in an excessive and rigid scar. The isometric application of contractile forces by myofibroblasts probably contributes to the formation of the whorls, nodules, and scar contractures characteristic of hypertrophic scars. Because the prolonged presence of myofibroblasts, producing an imbalance in extracellular matrix proteins and proteases, probably exacerbates hypertrophic scars and wound contraction, accelerating the rate of apoptotic cell death to reduce the cell number to that seen in normal scar may be a useful strategy for providing effective and efficient treatment of scar contracture.
This article was published in Hand Clin
and referenced in Journal of Biotechnology & Biomaterials