Cutaneous Wound Reepithelialization

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Successful cutaneous wound repair occurs in a series of tightly coordinated and overlapping steps: (1) inflammation and clot formation, (2) keratinocyte activation and migration, (3) remodeling of the basement membrane and extracellular matrix, and (4) dermal and epidermal maturation. During the final three stages of cutaneous wound healing, restoration of an intact epidermis occurs via a complex process termed reepithelialization. In this chapter, we focus on the process of wound reepithelialization, emphasizing the resemblance of reepithelialization to epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) occurring during development and tumor progression. Based on the many morphologic and molecular similarities between the two processes, we propose that wound reepithelialization represents a partial and reversible EMT.