Studies in fetal wound healing: III. Early deposition of fibronectin distinguishes fetal from adult wound healing.
Wound healing in the fetus proceeds through a series of steps that differ in the fetus and the adult. At each phase of this complex process, there is signaling between the tissue cells and the wound microenvironment, signals that are mediated by and through the extracellular matrix. We postulate that these signals occur earlier in fetal wounds, resulting in more rapid repair. To investigate this, we compared the first 24 hours of wound healing in the rabbit fetus and adult, using antibodies against key extracellular matrix macromolecular components: laminin, fibronectin, and type-specific collagens I, III, IV, and V. Fibronectin was the first matrix component to be deposited, and was visualized as early as four hours after fetal wounding and 12 hours after adult wounding. There was no evidence of new laminin or collagen deposition in either the fetal or adult wounds at any time point examined. The early deposition of fibronectin, a matrix adhesion molecule that provides a scaffolding for epithelial migration, may underlie the rapid reepithelialization observed in fetal wounds.
Longaker, MT; Whitby, DJ; Ferguson, MW; Harrison, MR; Crombleholme, TM; Langer, JC; Cochrum, KC; Verrier, ED; Stern, R
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