Study Results On Scarring Can Pave The Way To Treatment Options

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Scar formation has always been evident when one underwent a surgery or had deep and large wounds. This is part of the normal mechanism of healing, but sometimes it becomes a detriment for the person having it. Studies have been conducted to explore more on this subject. One of these is the study by the researchers at Stanford University (School of Medicine), which revealed the molecular pathway by which physical force influences scarring in mice. This research was published online in Nature Medicine, with Geoffrey Gurtner, MD as the senior author and postdoctoral scholar Victor Wong, MD as the lead.

Gurtner stated that their study showed one of the primary mechanisms through which the mechanical environmental directly augments inflammation, which is strongly associated with scarring. Furthermore, their study discovered that mice genetically engineered (removing the enzyme activated through mechanical force) had less inflammation and fibrosis, compared with the control group. Moreover, incisions on these mice healed normally, and they had less scarring. What’s more, the mice injected with an organic compound helping cells sense changes in the mechanical environment. The researchers hope that their study will lead to new therapies for fibrotic diseases (disorders resulting from excess scarring) like pulmonary fibrosis and inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis.

Chemical mechanisms may lead to inflammation; however, mechanical forces have not been given attention as its role as primary stimulator of the inflammatory response and possible target for treatment. Pulling on an incision whenever a patient moves is an actual example of this mechanical force. Gurtner emphasized that the mechanical forces should also be seriously deemed as a source of inflammation and fibrosis.

Furthermore, an enzyme, called focal adhesion kinase, has been linked to cellular responses to force; nonetheless, its role in scarring is still unknown. The team discovered that the enzyme seems to modulate protein molecules commonly used by cells in communicating with one another.  In addition, the enzyme-inhibiting enzyme PF-573228 was experimented with human cells, playing a main role in wound healing. It was noted that molecules stimulating the inflammatory process had not been released.

The researchers believe that tests on human are necessary, before they can finally say that this strategy can be employed as valid therapeutic option. Moreover, they are hoping that their findings can be well utilized in exploring and developing new therapies for diseases, characterized by scarring in the body. Finally, they concluded that their findings imply that linking mechanical force to inflammation and fibrosis may become clinically significant and effective even in varied organ systems.




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