Cutaneous wound healing is a complex process encompassing a number of overlapping events including leukocyte recruitment, matrix deposition, epithelialization, and ultimately resolution of inflammation with the formation of a mature scar. Morbidity associated with age-related delayed wound healing imposes an enormous social and financial burden; unless improved wound care strategies are developed the projected relative and absolute increase in the elderly population will further exacerbate this problem. In recent years insight has been gained into the impact of ageing on cellular and tissue responses, resulting from impaired cytokine signal transduction, unchecked inflammation, an altered balance of protein synthesis and degradation, and subsequent downstream effects on the rate and quality of the wound healing response. Further understanding of the complex interaction between the ageing cell and its microenvironment is essential in order to develop focussed therapeutic strategies to improve healing in the elderly.
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