Gene expression in fetal murine keratinocytes and fibroblasts

Michael S. Hu, Michael Januszyk, Wan Xing Hong, Graham G. Walmsley, Elizabeth R. Zielins, David A. Atashroo, Zeshaan N. Maan, Adrian McArdle, Danny M. Takanishi, Geoffrey C. Gurtner, Michael T. Longaker, Hermann Peter Lorenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Early fetuses heal wounds without the formation of a scar. Many studies have attempted to explain this remarkable phenomenon. However, the exact mechanism remains unknown. Herein, we examine the predominant cell types of the epidermis and dermis - the keratinocyte and fibroblast - during different stages of fetal development to better understand the changes that lead to scarring wound repair versus regeneration. Materials and methods Keratinocytes and fibroblasts were harvested and cultured from the dorsal skin of time-dated BALB/c fetuses. Total RNA was isolated and microarray analysis was performed using chips with 42,000 genes. Significance analysis of microarrays was used to select genes with >2-fold expression differences with a false discovery rate <2. Enrichment analysis was performed on significant genes to identify differentially expressed pathways. Results By comparing the gene expression profile of keratinocytes from E16 versus E18 fetuses, we identified 24 genes that were downregulated at E16. Analysis of E16 and E18 fibroblasts revealed 522 differentially expressed genes. Enrichment analysis showed the top 20 signaling pathways that were downregulated in E16 keratinocytes and upregulated or downregulated in E16 fibroblasts. Conclusions Our data reveal 546 differentially expressed genes in keratinocytes and fibroblasts between the scarless and scarring transition. In addition, a total of 60 signaling pathways have been identified to be either upregulated or downregulated in these cell types. The genes and pathways recognized by our study may prove to be essential targets that may discriminate between fetal wound regeneration and adult wound repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-357
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Microarray
  • Regeneration
  • Scarless repair
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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