Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers discover mechanism that limits scar formation

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered that an unexpected cellular response plays an important role in breaking down and inhibiting the formation of excess scar tissue in wound healing.

Their study was published online this week in Nature Cell Biology.

When an organism suffers severe injury, specialized cells are "recruited" to the wound site that rapidly produce extracellular matrix proteins such as collagen to provide structural support to the tissue, according to Lester Lau, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the UIC College of Medicine and principal investigator in the study.

Joon-Il Jun, a postdoctoral fellow working in Lau's lab and first author of the paper, found that fibroblasts recruited to the site of skin wounds were entering a state of reproductive dormancy, or cell-cycle arrest, called senescence.

This was quite unexpected, Jun said. Until now senescence was believed to occur in cells that suffered DNA damage -- to prevent them from proliferating and, possibly, becoming cancerous.

He discovered that the senescent fibroblasts were making proteins that degraded the extracellular matrix and accelerated the breakdown of collagen. The senescent cells also stopped making collagen.

"The accumulation of senescent cells in the wound has the biological effect of inhibiting the formation of excess scar tissue," Jun said.

Jun also discovered that a protein called CCN1 is responsible for turning on the senescent state in fibroblasts. He was able to show that in mice with a mutated, non-functional form of CCN1, the fibroblasts at the site of a skin wound did not become senescent, and the wound developed excessive scar tissue.

Further, Jun was able to "rescue" the mutated mice by applying CCN1 protein topically to the skin wound, triggering fibroblast senescence and limiting the formation of scar tissue.

The discovery that senescence is a normal wound-healing response in the skin; that senescence in the wound serves an anti-fibrotic function; and that CCN1 is the critical protein that controls this process may prove important in understanding a wide range of pathological conditions related to tissue scarring, said Lau.

"For example, chronic injury to the liver from a number of causes, including viral infections, alcoholism, diabetes and obesity, leads to fibrosis and may progress to cirrhosis," Lau said. "After a heart attack, accumulation of scar tissue in the heart impairs its ability to pump efficiently."

The ability to control the formation of scar tissue, or fibrosis, has important implications for future therapies for treating wound-healing disorders, including organ damage where functional tissue is replaced with scar tissue, Lau said.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

For more information about UIC, visit

Jeanne Galatzer-Levy | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>