Wound re-epithelialization: Modulating keratinocyte migration in wound healing

Raja K Sivamani, Miki Shirakawa Garcia, Roslyn Rivkah Isseroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

298 Scopus citations


An essential feature of a healed wound is the restoration of an intact epidermal barrier through wound epithelialization, also known as re-epithelialization. The directed migration of keratinocytes is critical to wound epithelialization and defects in this function are associated with the clinical phenotype of chronic non-healing wounds. A complex balance of signaling factors and surface proteins are expressed and regulated in a temporospatial manner that promote keratinocyte motility and survival to activate wound re-epithelialization. The majority of this review focuses on the mechanisms that regulate keratinocyte migration in the re-epithelialization process. This includes a review of cell attachments via desmosomes, hemidesmosomes, and integrins, the expression of keratins, the role of growth factors, cytokines and chemokines, eicosanoids, oxygen tension, antimicrobial peptides, and matrix metalloproteinases. Also reviewed are recently emerging novel mediators of keratinocyte motility including the role of electric fields, and signaling via the acetylcholine and beta-adrenergic receptors. These multiple regulators impact the ability of keratinocytes to migrate from the wound edge or other epidermal reservoirs to efficiently re-epithelialize a breach in the integrity of the epidermis. New discoveries will continue to uncover the elegant network of events that result in restoration of epidermal integrity and complete the wound repair process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2849-2868
Number of pages20
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 1 2007


  • Acetylcholine
  • And matrix metalloproteinase
  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Beta adrenergic receptor
  • Catecholamine
  • Catecholamines
  • Chemokine
  • Cytokine
  • Desmosome
  • Eicosanoid
  • Epidermal growth factor
  • Epithelialization
  • Fibroblast growth factor
  • Healing
  • Hemidesmosome
  • Integrin
  • Keratin
  • Keratinocyte
  • Migration
  • Motility
  • Muscarinic receptor
  • Nicotinic receptor
  • Oxygen
  • Re-epithelialization
  • Review
  • Wound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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