How skin regenerate after severe burns

How Skin Can Regenerate After Severe Burns Discovered By Scientists

People who had extensive skin injuries or severe burns are often left with scars, disfigurement, and itchy skin. This happens because the human body’s healing process is meant to quickly prevent infection and heal wounds rather than restoring or regenerating normal skin tissue.

Now an exciting leap has been made understanding how the skin heals by new research led by Dr. Jeff Biernaskie, professor of stem cell biology at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM), which could lead to the development of new drugs for wound healing. The journal Cell Stem Cell published the study.

A particular population of progenitor cells located within the deepest connective tissue of the skin, dermis was identified by researchers. Progenitor cells are those cells that can undergo cell division and generate many cells that either repair or maintain tissues. The dermal progenitor cells researchers found become activated following injury, which then proliferates and moves to wounds to generate all-new tissues to fill the wound.

The study provides new insights into why certain dermal cells can regenerate new skin instead of disfiguring scar tissue. The research team compared scar-forming versus regenerative zones

within skin wounds using cutting-edge genomics techniques to profile thousands of individual cells at different times after injury.

The researchers found that these cells come from the same cellular origin, but different sets of genes are activated by different microenvironments within the wound. Meaning, reactivation of genes that are typically engaged during skin development is promoted by the signals found within ‘regenerative zones’ of the wound. Whereas, these pro-regenerative programs are suppressed or absent in scar-forming zones, dominating scar-forming programs. In light of these findings, researchers showed that they could modify the genetic programs that control skin regeneration.

What researchers have shown in their study is that they can modify the genetics of these progenitor cells directly, or alter the wound environment with drugs, both of which are enough to change their behavior during wound healing. And this can have great effects on healing like regeneration of glands, fat within the wounded skin, and hair follicles.

Besides providing insights into how skin regenerates after severe burns, this research identifies a number of genetic signals that are able to overcome fibrosis and promote true regeneration of adult skin and offers critical insights into the molecular signals that drive scar formation during wound healing.

This research is important because it provides proof that the adult wound-responsive cells have a latent regenerative capacity, which just needs to be unmasked. The researchers are also looking at possible additional pathways. They hope to develop a cocktail of drugs that can safely be administered in humans and animals to prevent scar formation and improve the quality of skin healing.