Fetal diaphragmatic wounds heal with scar formation.
Fetal wound healing is fundamentally different from wound healing in the adult. Although experimental work in mice, rats, rabbits, monkeys, and sheep has demonstrated that fetal healing occurs without inflammation and scarring, all of these studies have been limited to fetal skin wounds. Whether all fetal tissues heal in a regenerative-like fashion is unknown. Amniotic fluid exposure may play an important role in scarless fetal skin wound healing, but the effect of amniotic fluid on fetal mesothelial wound healing has not been characterized. To investigate these questions we created bilateral linear diaphragmatic wounds in 100-day gestation fetal lambs (term = 145 days). The right thoracotomy was closed to exclude amniotic fluid. In contrast, the left thoracotomy was fashioned into an Eloesser flap which permitted the left diaphragmatic wound to be continually bathed in amniotic fluid. Wounds were harvested after 1, 2, 7, or 14 days and analyzed by light microscopy and immunohistochemistry with antibodies to collagen types I, III, IV, and VI. Whether bathed in or excluded from amniotic fluid, the mesothelial-lined diaphragm healed with scar formation and without evidence of muscle regeneration. Interestingly, diaphragmatic wounds exposed to amniotic fluid were covered by a thick fibrous collagen peel similar to that seen in gastroschisis bowel. These findings indicate that not all fetal tissues share the unique scarless healing properties of fetal skin.
Longaker, MT; Whitby, DJ; Jennings, RW; Duncan, BW; Ferguson, MW; Harrison, MR; Adzick, NS
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