Wounds Healing Without Scars
Will it be possible to heal wounds without scar formation? New research from the University of Pennsylvania offers hope that it can be the case.
The basic teaching of wound healing and surgery was and has been simple: a wound, incision, cut or injury that is made deep enough into the skin, a scar will form. This is due to cells known as myofibroblasts that simply go about doing what they are programmed to do.
Studies by Dr George Cotsarelis and colleagues have suggested that if myofibroblasts can be encouraged to become another cell type during wound healing, the possibility of a scar can be bypassed. Thanks to hair follicles.
The research showed that hair follicles in wounds can secrete a protein known as bone morphogenic protein or "BMP". BMP can trigger myofibroblasts to become adipocytes (a type of fat cell). Wound healing with adipocytes was shown to progress in a scarless manner.
This study is significant and represents a potential "paradigm shift" in the way we think about scars. The potential exists to help wounds heal without scar formation. More studies are needed to determine how to routinely make this happen in human skin.
Plikus et al. Regeneration of fat cells from myofibroblasts during wound healing. Science 2017.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299