Gene expression in a context of skin healing

Promotion of skin repair through the use of bioactive material is an important and clinically relevant research field. In this section, we will present a hypothetical study assessing the efficacy of a biomaterial to promote wound healing in a diabetic murine model. In skin, the temporal expression of genes following wounding is strongly linked to the temporal phases of wound healing. However, before documenting how gene expression can be measured during skin healing, the cell and molecular processes leading to skin repair need to be discussed in more depth.

The skin repair process and the three phases of wound healing

Following skin injury, a cascade of complex cellular mechanisms occurs in order to repair the wounded tissues. In mice, the animal model to be used in this example, the temporal mechanisms are classically grouped into three major overlapping phases. In the case of full-thickness wounds where the dermis and the epidermis are both damaged, three phases of (1) inflammation, (2) proliferation, and (3) remodeling occur to facilitate repair (Singer and Clark, 1999; Walker et al., 2015). These phases are summarized in Fig. 6.5.

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