Nav: Home

Unexpected helpers in wound healing

January 24, 2018

Nerve cells in the skin help wounds to heal. When an injury occurs, cells known as glial cells change into repair cells and disseminate into the wound, where they help the skin to regenerate, researchers from the University of Zurich have shown.

An essential step in skin wound healing is wound closure, which is why shortly after an injury occurs, blood coagulates and seals the wound. For the injury to be able to heal permanently, however, the affected layers of the skin need to be newly formed. For that to happen, a complex, only partially understood interplay takes place between various cell types in our skin. Together with a team from ETH, Lukas Sommer, a professor in the Institute of Anatomy at the University of Zurich, and his research group have now been able to show that peripheral nerve cells play a central role in this healing process. The research group is part of "Skintegrity," a flagship project of the University Medicine Zurich initiative.

Glial cells change their identity

There have long been indications that for optimal healing to occur, a tissue needs to be innervated (i.e. supplied with nerves). The reason, however, remained unclear. With the help of an animal model, the researchers from Skintegrity discovered that fine nerve bundles change drastically if they are injured when a skin wound occurs. Cells along the injured nerve bundles, known as glial cells, change their original identity and are reprogrammed to "repair cells." They thereby lose their contact to the nerve bundles and disseminate into the wound bed. "There, they distribute a diverse cocktail of factors, which support the wound healing," explains Lukas Sommer. Through genetic experiments, he was able to prove that, among other things, these repair cells were important to help the wound close as they support the necessary reconstitution of the dermis.

Healing chronic wounds

In older people or people with diabetes, for example, wounds often heal slowly or, in some cases, not at all. Such chronic wounds usually cause serious health problems and treatment is currently unsatisfactory. Interestingly, the researchers from Skintegrity also found reprogrammed peripheral nerve cells in human skin wounds. "Now we want to work together with clinicians from the University Hospital Zurich to better characterize the wound healing factors that are distributed by nerve cells," says Sommer. "This may lead to an effective treatment for chronic wounds in the future."
-end-


University of Zurich

Related Nerve Cells Articles:

How hearing loss can change the way nerve cells are wired
Even short-term blockages in hearing can lead to remarkable changes in the auditory system, altering the behavior and structure of nerve cells that relay information from the ear to the brain, according to a new University at Buffalo study.
Lab-grown nerve cells make heart cells throb
Researchers at Johns Hopkins report that a type of lab-grown human nerve cells can partner with heart muscle cells to stimulate contractions.
Nerve-insulating cells more diverse than previously thought
Oligodendrocytes, a type of brain cell that plays a crucial role in diseases such as multiple sclerosis, are more diverse than have previously been thought, according to a new study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
Aggregated protein in nerve cells can cause ALS
Persons with the serious disorder ALS, can have a genetic mutation that causes the protein SOD1 to aggregate in motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord.
Aggression causes new nerve cells to be generated in the brain
A group of neurobiologists from Russia and the USA, including Dmitry Smagin, Tatyana Michurina, and Grigori Enikolopov from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, have proven experimentally that aggression has an influence on the production of new nerve cells in the brain.
Researchers grow retinal nerve cells in the lab
Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a method to efficiently turn human stem cells into retinal ganglion cells, the type of nerve cells located within the retina that transmit visual signals from the eye to the brain.
Nerve cells warn brain of damage to the inner ear
Some nerve cells in the inner ear can signal tissue damage in a way similar to pain-sensing nerve cells in the body, according to new research from Johns Hopkins.
It takes a lot of nerve: Scientists make cells to aid peripheral nerve repair
Peripheral nerve injuries, such as those resulting from neuropathies, physical trauma or surgery, are common and can cause partial or complete loss of nerve function and a reduced quality of life.
Nerve cells use each other as maps
When nerve cells form in an embryo they have to be guided to their final position by navigating a kind of molecular and cellular 'map' in order to function properly.
What hundreds of biomolecules tell us about our nerve cells
Researchers at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine, of the University of Luxembourg, have, under Dr.

Related Nerve Cells Reading:

Nerve Cells and Animal Behaviour
by Peter Simmons (Author)

Governing Behavior: How Nerve Cell Dictatorships and Democracies Control Everything We Do
by Ari Berkowitz (Author)

Neuroethology: Nerve Cells and the Natural Behavior of Animals
by Jeffrey M. Camhi (Author)

Culturing Nerve Cells, Second Edition (Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience)
by Gary Banker (Editor), Kimberly Goslin (Editor), Charles F. Stevens (Editor)

Culturing Nerve Cells (BRADFORD BOOKS)
by Gary Banker (Editor), Kimberly Goslin (Editor), Charles F. Stevens (Editor)

Nerve Cells and Insect Behavior: With an Appreciation by John G. Hildebrand, Revised edition
by Kenneth D. Roeder (Author)

Patient's Guide to Retinal and Optic Nerve Stem Cell Surgery
by Jeffrey Weiss (Author)

Nerve Cells and Insect Behavior
by Kenneth D. Roeder (Author)

Cellular Physiology of Nerve and Muscle
by Gary G. Matthews (Author)

Principles of Neural Science, Fifth Edition (Principles of Neural Science (Kandel))
by Eric R. Kandel (Editor), James H. Schwartz (Editor), Thomas M. Jessell (Editor), Steven A. Siegelbaum (Editor), A. J. Hudspeth (Editor)

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Approaching With Kindness
We often forget to say the words "thank you." But can those two words change how you — and those around you — look at the world? This hour, TED speakers on the power of gratitude and appreciation. Guests include author AJ Jacobs, author and former baseball player Mike Robbins, Dr. Laura Trice, Professor of Management Christine Porath, and former Danish politician Özlem Cekic.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#509 Anisogamy: The Beginning of Male and Female
This week we discuss how the sperm and egg came to be, and how a difference of reproductive interest has led to sexual conflict in bed bugs. We'll be speaking with Dr. Geoff Parker, an evolutionary biologist credited with developing a theory to explain the evolution of two sexes, about anisogamy, sexual reproduction through the fusion of two different gametes: the egg and the sperm. Then we'll speak with Dr. Roberto Pereira, research scientist in urban entomology at the University of Florida, about traumatic insemination in bed bugs.