Gene Expression Linked to Reepithelialization of Human Skin Wounds

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Our understanding of the regulatory processes of reepithelialization during wound healing is incomplete. In an attempt to map the genes involved in epidermal regeneration and differentiation, we measured gene expression in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded standardized epidermal wounds induced by the suction-blister technique with associated nonwounded skin using NanoString technology. The transcripts of 139 selected genes involved in clotting, immune response to tissue injury, signaling pathways, cell adhesion and proliferation, extracellular matrix remodeling, zinc transport and keratinocyte differentiation were evaluated. We identified 22 upregulated differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in descending order of fold change (MMP1, MMP3, IL6, CXCL8, SERPINE1, IL1B, PTGS2, HBEGF, CXCL5, CXCL2, TIMP1, CYR61, CXCL1, MMP12, MMP9, HGF, CTGF, ITGB3, MT2A, FGF7, COL4A1 and PLAUR). The expression of the most upregulated gene, MMP1, correlated strongly with MMP3 followed by IL6 and IL1B. rhIL-1β, but not rhIL-6, exposure of cultured normal human epidermal keratinocytes and normal human dermal fibroblasts increased both MMP1 mRNA and MMP-1 protein levels, as well as TIMP1 mRNA levels. The increased TIMP1 in wounds was validated by immunohistochemistry. The six downregulated DEGs (COL7A1, MMP28, SLC39A2, FLG1, KRT10 and FLG2) were associated with epidermal maturation. KLK8 showed the strongest correlation with MKI67 mRNA levels and is a potential biomarker for keratinocyte proliferation. The observed gene expression changes correlate well with the current knowledge of physiological reepithelialization. Thus, the gene expression panel described in this paper could be used in patients with impaired healing to identify possible therapeutic targets.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Udgave nummer24
StatusUdgivet - 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by Aage Bangs Fond and Mölnlycke Health Care.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.

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