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Microenvironment control may promote wound healing

Mechanism of wound healing by controlling microenvironment. Photo courtesy Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS)

The Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) has introduced a novel principle for manipulating the microenvironment of biological tissues, which could significantly enhance wound healing and regeneration. Their findings were published in Biomaterials Research.

Led by the KRISS Nanobio Measurement Group, the researchers studied fibrosis during wound healing and regeneration and proposed a technique to mechanically control the tissue microenvironment around wounds to locally regulate fibrosis. This process is considered safer than the chemical methods previously employed, which included adding growth factors such as EGF to cells.

The KRISS researchers integrated advanced technologies, including nonlinear optical imaging, to discover that fibroblast differentiation into myofibroblasts, a key factor in fibrosis, is most active when the skin's extracellular matrix elastin content is at 20%. That’s compared to the normal level of 10%. This finding underscores the critical role of the microenvironment's composition in fibrosis control.

"Fibrosis is the process where the extracellular matrix around cells becomes stiff due to the secretion of substances like collagen, often leading to scar tissue formation," the authors wrote. Excessive fibrosis can cause organs such as the liver, lungs, and heart to harden, and may result in autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma.

The team also identified proteins that regulate tissue elasticity and demonstrated that manipulating these proteins can encourage fibroblast differentiation. This method contrasts with conventional chemical approaches, which involve adding growth factors to cells. The KRISS method, which adjusts tissue elasticity, is considered safer as it avoids potential cellular chain reactions triggered by growth factors.

Dr. Se Hwa Kim, a principal researcher from the KRISS Nanobio Measurement Group, said in a press release: "The convergence of advanced bio-measurement technologies by KRISS led to this achievement. We plan to expand research into various fibrosis mechanisms using organ cells as well as skin cells."



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