Background: Acute wound healing is a dynamic process that results in the formation of scar tissue. The mechanisms of this process are not well understood; numerous signaling pathways are thought to play a major role. Here, the authors have identified β-catenin-dependent Wnt signaling as an early acute-phase reactant in acute wound healing and scar formation. Methods: The authors created 6-mm full-thickness excisional cutaneous wounds on adult β-catenin-dependent Wnt signal (BAT-gal) reporter mice. The expression of canonical Wnt after wounding was analyzed using X-gal staining and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Next, recombinant mouse Wnt3a (rmWnt3a) was injected subcutaneously to the wound edge, daily. The mice were killed at stratified time points, up to 15 days after injury. Histologic analysis, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, and Western blot were performed. Results: Numerous individual Wnt ligands increased in expression after wounding, including Wnt3a, Wnt4, Wnt10a, and Wnt11. A specific pattern of Wnt activity was observed, localized to the hair follicle and epidermis. Mice injected with rmWnt3a exhibited faster wound closure, increased scar size, and greater expression of fibroblast growth factor receptor-2 and type I collagen. Conclusions: The authors' data suggest that β-catenin-dependent Wnt signaling expression increases shortly after cutaneous wounding, and exogenous rmWnt3a accelerates reepithelialization, wound matrix maturation, and scar formation. Future experiments will focus on the intersection of Wnt signalling and other known profibrotic cytokines.
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