Scarless skin repair in immunodeficient mice

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Scarring, the end result of the wound healing process in adult mammals, is a problem of significant clinical importance. We observed that athymic nude-nu mice, similar to mammalian fetuses, are able to restore the structure and integrity of injured skin through a process resembling regeneration, where scar formation is absent. Among the postinjured skin tissues collected from athymic nude-nu, wild-type controls (C57BL/6J), severe-combined immunodeficient, Rag (lack of B and T cells), athymic (thymectomized neonates and adult C57BL/6J), and mice treated with an immunosuppressant (cyclosporin A), only athymic nude-nu mice showed: a lack of scar by histological examination (hematoxylin & eosin and Masson's trichrome staining), low levels of collagen (as determined by hydroxyproline content), high levels of hyaluronic acid, a statistically significant increase in elastic modulus for injured samples over unwounded (biomechanical testing) and low levels of the pro-scarring cytokines platelet-derived growth factor-B and transforming growth factor beta1. Additionally, immunohistochemical and Western blot analyses of postinjured tissues as well as flow cytometry analysis of blood samples showed the presence of CD8-positive cells in all studied animals except nude-nu mice. We conclude that scarless skin healing in athymic nude-nu mice provides a new model to study the influence of the immune system on tissue regeneration.

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Wound repair and regeneration : official publication of the Wound Healing Society [and] the European Tissue Repair Society

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