Author(s): Evans ND, Oreffo RO, Healy E, Thurner PJ, Man YH
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Abstract Skin wound healing is a vital process that is important for re-establishing the epithelial barrier following disease or injury. Aberrant or delayed skin wound healing increases the risk of infection, causes patient morbidity, and may lead to the formation of scar tissue. One of the most important events in wound healing is coverage of the wound with a new epithelial layer. This occurs when keratinocytes at the wound periphery divide and migrate to re-populate the wound bed. Many approaches are under investigation to promote and expedite this process, including the topical application of growth factors and the addition of autologous and allogeneic tissue or cell grafts. The mechanical environment of the wound site is also of fundamental importance for the rate and quality of wound healing. It is known that mechanical stress can influence wound healing by affecting the behaviour of cells within the dermis, but it remains unclear how mechanical forces affect the healing epidermis. Tensile forces are known to affect the behaviour of cells within epithelia, however, and the material properties of extracellular matrices, such as substrate stiffness, have been shown to affect the morphology, proliferation, differentiation and migration of many different cell types. In this review we will introduce the structure of the skin and the process of wound healing. We will then discuss the evidence for the effect of tissue mechanics in re-epithelialisation and, in particular, on stem cell behaviour in the wound microenvironment and in intact skin. We will discuss how the elasticity, mechanical heterogeneity and topography of the wound extracellular matrix impact the rate and quality of wound healing, and how we may exploit this knowledge to expedite wound healing and mitigate scarring. Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Mech Behav Biomed Mater
and referenced in Journal of Data Mining in Genomics & Proteomics