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Cell-matrix interactions in dermal repair and scarring

Author(s): Eckes Beate | Nischt Roswitha | Krieg Thomas

Journal: Fibrogenesis & Tissue Repair
ISSN 1755-1536

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 4;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Abstract Regulation of cellular functions during dermal repair following injury is complex and critically dependent on the interaction of cells with the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM comprises various families of macromolecules that form the structural scaffold of the tissue, but also carry distinct biological activities. After injury to the skin, the defect is filled by a provisional matrix that is invaded by inflammatory cells, sprouting blood vessels and fibroblasts. In a later phase, the wound contracts, the tissue is replaced by mature connective tissue produced by activated fibroblasts, and a scar is formed. All cells involved communicate directly with the ECM by integrins and other matrix receptors. These transmit signals and induce adaptive responses to the environment by the embedded cells. The ECM or proteolytic fragments of individual ECM constituents exert defined biological activities influencing cell survival, differentiation of myofibroblasts, ECM synthesis and turnover, wound angiogenesis and scar remodeling. Extensive crosstalk exists between ECM and growth factors, and between growth factors and integrins. ECM-cell contact also enables direct transmission of mechanical tension, which then modulates many activities of all cellular players. Understanding this complex interplay is important to provide a basis for designing effective wound therapy and for strategic interference with mechanisms that have gone out of control in fibrotic conditions.
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