, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 787-808

A mathematical model for fibro-proliferative wound healing disorders

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Abstract

The normal process of dermal wound healing fails in some cases, due to fibro-proliferative disorders such as keloid and hypertrophic scars. These types of abnormal healing may be regarded as pathologically excessive responses to wounding in terms of fibroblastic cell profiles and their inflammatory growth-factor mediators. Biologically, these conditions are poorly understood and current medical treatments are thus unreliable.

In this paper, the authors apply an existing deterministic mathematical model for fibroplasia and wound contraction in adult mammalian dermis (Olsenet al., J. theor. Biol. 177, 113–128, 1995) to investigate key clinical problems concerning these healing disorders. A caricature model is proposed which retains the fundamental cellular and chemical components of the full model, in order to analyse the spatiotemporal dynamics of the initiation, progression, cessation and regression of fibro-contractive diseases in relation to normal healing. This model accounts for fibroblastic cell migration, proliferation and death and growth-factor diffusion, production by cells and tissue removal/decay.

Explicit results are obtained in terms of the model processes and parameters. The rate of cellular production of the chemical is shown to be critical to the development of a stable pathological state. Further, cessation and/or regression of the disease depend on appropriate spatiotemporally varying forms for this production rate, which can be understood in terms of the bistability of the normal dermal and pathological steady states—a central property of the model, which is evident from stability and bifurcation analyses.

The work predicts novel, biologically realistic and testable pathogenic and control mechanisms, the understanding of which will lead toward more effective strategies for clinical therapy of fibro-proliferative disorders.