Hyaluronate metabolism undergoes an ontogenic transition during fetal development: implications for scar-free wound healing.


Journal Article

Wound healing in the fetus occurs by a different process from that in the adult. Instead of healing with scar formation, fetal cutaneous wounds heal by regeneration that results in complete restoration of normal skin architecture. The mechanisms responsible for this remarkable phenomenon involve factors in the fetal environment and properties intrinsic to fetal cells. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a major component of the fetal extracellular matrix (ECM) and is believed to play an important role in this process. In this study, HA and HA-stimulating activity (HASA) in fetal and adult wound fluid were examined using sensitive, newly developed assays. In an ovine model, higher levels of HA and HASA were observed in fetal as compared with adult wound fluid. This difference was most prominent in wound fluid from fetal lambs at 75 and 100 days gestation (term = 145 days); these samples contained persistently elevated HA and HASA levels for up to 2 weeks after wounding (HA peak levels 145 micrograms/mL and 110 micrograms/mL, respectively). In contrast, wound fluid from 120-day-gestation fetuses had significantly lower levels (P < .001) that were transient and similar to that in the adult (HA peak levels 70 micrograms/mL and 10 micrograms/mL, respectively). These observations confirm an ontogenic transition in wound HA metabolism from a fetal to an adult-like phenotype. Levels of HASA as a function of time after wounding correlated with levels of HA, suggesting a role for HASA in controlling HA deposition during tissue repair. Two patterns of HASA and HA synthesis were noted.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Estes, JM; Adzick, NS; Harrison, MR; Longaker, MT; Stern, R

Published Date

  • October 1993

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 28 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 1227 - 1231

PubMed ID

  • 8263679

Pubmed Central ID

  • 8263679

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1531-5037

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3468

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s0022-3468(05)80303-3


  • eng