The repair of tissue damage is a key survival process in all organisms and involves the coordinated activation of several cell types. Cell-cell communication is clearly fundamental to this process, and a great deal is known about extracellular communication within the wound site via cytokines. Here we show that direct cell-cell communication through connexin 43 (Cx43) gap junction channels also plays a major role in the wound healing process. In two different wound healing models, incisional and excisional skin lesions, we show that a single topical application of Cx43 antisense gel brings about a transient downregulation of Cx43 protein levels, and this results in a dramatic increase in the rate of wound closure. Cx43 knockdown reduces inflammation, seen both macroscopically, as a reduction in swelling, redness, and wound gape, and microscopically, as a significant decrease in neutrophil numbers in the tissue around the wound. One long-term consequence of the improved rate of healing is a significant reduction in the extent of granulation tissue deposition and the subsequent formation of a smaller, less distorted, scar. This approach is likely to have widespread therapeutic applications in other injured tissues and opens up new avenues of research into improving the wound healing process.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Sep 2003|
- Connexin 43
- Mice, Inbred ICR
- Oligodeoxyribonucleotides, Antisense
- Skin Physiological Phenomena
- Wound Healing