Immunology of Wound Healing

Samantha Ellis, Elaine J. Lin, Danielle Tartar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Chronic wounds are a tremendous burden on the healthcare system and lead to significant patient morbidity and mortality. Normal cutaneous wound healing occurs through an intricate and delicate interplay between the immune system, keratinocytes, and dermal cells. Each cell type contributes signals that drive the normal phases of wound healing: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. This paper reviews how various immunological cell types and signaling molecules influence the way wounds develop, persist, and heal. Recent Findings: Concurrent with the achievement of hemostasis, neutrophils are the first cells to migrate to the wound bed, brought in by pro-inflammatory signals including IL-8. Their apoptosis and engulfment by macrophages (efferocytosis) provides a key signal to the local immune milieu, including macrophages, to transition to an anti-inflammatory, pro-repair state, where angiogenesis occurs and granulation tissue is laid down. Myofibroblasts, activated through contractile forces and signaling molecules, then drive remodeling, where granulation tissue becomes scar. Unchecked inflammation at this stage can result in abnormal scar formation. Summary: Although the derangement of immune signals at any stage can result in impaired wound healing, recent research has shown that the key transition point lies between the inflammatory and the proliferative phases. This review summarizes the events that facilitate this transition and discusses how this process can be disrupted, leading to chronic, non-healing wounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-358
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Dermatology Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Anti-inflammatory macrophage
  • Chronic wound
  • Macrophage
  • Neutrophil
  • Re-epithelialization
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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