08:37pm Thursday 20 February 2020

Study Reveals How to Regenerate Mouse Ears Without a Scar

PHILADELPHIA – In contrast to amphibian tissue regeneration, traumatic injuries in mammals typically heal with a fibrous scar. Researchers discovered that some strains of mice heal without a scar, by disrupting a protein, called Sdf1, that normally recruits white blood cells to sites of injury. Blocking Sdf1 function with a drug or by mouse genetics enhanced tissue regeneration and decreased scarring in normal mice.

The team, led by former Stanford pediatric dermatologist Thomas Leung, MD, PhD, now an assistant professor in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, studied how the ears of mice heal from a hole punched through the thin tissue (much like ear piercing in humans). In many strains of mice, the holes heal with a scar and remain visible. In a few others, the holes completely close without a perceptible scar.

They published their work in Genes and Development, and their findings may one day lead to advances in regenerative medicine.

Because the drug used to block Sdf1 signaling is already used in medical clinics to mobilize stem cells in transplant patients, Leung is hopeful that it can quickly be tested in humans struggling to heal chronic or slow-healing wounds.  He is currently designing a clinical trial to test the drug, called AMD3100.

Additional details are available in a Stanford Medicine article.


Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report‘s survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $409 million awarded in the 2014 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center — which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report — Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital — the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2014, Penn Medicine provided $771 million to benefit our community.

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