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The skin remembers injuries from sticks and stones, can heal recurring wounds faster

Nov 14, 2017

dermatology, scars, wound healing, stem cells, skin regeneration, skin cellsInjuries, whether they be direct or inflammation-causing instances, result in a “skin memory” that allows the skin to heal subsequent wounds faster. The skin’s stem cells, which are responsible for replenishing and maintaining the outer layer of skin cells, is first sensitized to inflammation with the initial injury/wound. Any subsequent wounds results in a faster response to healing by these same stem cells.

How do these stem cells respond faster to injury?

Scientists found that injury opens up sites on the stem cells’ chromosomes, opening up specific genes for activation. One of these specific genes that was opened up in this process was Aim2, a protein that boosts the stem cells’ mobility and ability to reach the wound quickly.

Scientists believe that a better understanding of how inflammation affects cells as a whole could lead to better treatments for a host of diseases and ailments. Specifically, inflammation and its relation to stem cells may dictate the effectiveness in which the human body is able to respond to injury/disease later on in life.

Naik et al. Inflammatory memory sensitizes skin epithelial stem cells to tissue damage. Nature, , 2017. DOI:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature24271

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