The ability of fetal skin wounds to heal without scar formation is remarkable. The mechanisms that endow the fetus with this unique healing ability remain unknown. We have developed an in vitro explant model using fetal sheep skin to investigate fetal wound healing. This model eliminates the complex systemic mechanisms that modulate in vivo wound healing. We demonstrated that using an enriched medium, midgestation fetal sheep skin explants following wounding reepithelialized within 4 days. By 7 days after wounding the confluent epidermis was thicker, but the dermal wound remained open. This model demonstrates that it is possible to achieve conditions in culture that maintain tissue viability and support reepithelialization. This model may allow us to resolve some of the individual components that participate in the process of scarless fetal skin healing.
- Fetal wound healing
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