, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 147-155

Relationship between the distribution of myofibroblasts, and stellar and circular scar formation due to the contraction of square and circular wound healing

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Square skin wounds can heal to form a stellar scar with four protrusions at the four angles, whereas circular wounds can heal to form an ellipsoid scar. It is not clear why these differences occur and the aim of the present study was to clarify this phenomenon. Two square or circular full-thickness skin wounds were made on the dorsum of mice, and covered with hydrocolloid dressing. They were observed from day 0 to 15 after wounding, and used to prepare paraffin sections stained with anti-α-smooth muscle actin antibody to detect myofibroblasts. The square wound was transiently enlarged by edema and skin tension on day 3, at which time the angles became round, and thus the square form became more circular. Thereafter, the wound contracted rapidly and the circular form was maintained until day 11. On day 11 distinct angles appeared where the scar formation had progressed further, and there were fewer myofibroblasts than in any other section. A stellar scar with protrusions from the four angles was formed on day 15, when myofibroblasts almost disappeared in the protrusions. This indicates that due to the earlier disappearance of myofibroblasts and earlier scarring in the angles of the square wound, the scar angle cannot be pulled into the center of the wound but residual myofibroblasts on the side can pull the side into the center due to myofibroblastic contraction and consequently a stellar scar is formed. Thus, the earlier disappearance of myofibroblasts in the angles is very important for the formation of stellar scars.