Speedy healer

日期:2019-03-07 05:18:01 作者:白翡酝 阅读:

By Philip Cohen BY REMOVING a gene, biologists have created mice whose wounds heal more than twice as fast as normal, opening up the possibility of drugs that vastly accelerate healing in humans. Anita Roberts and her colleagues at the National Institutes of Health near Washington DC began studying a protein called Smad3 because they knew it was activated during healing. “So we really thought if we knocked it out, we’d compromise wound healing,” she says. But to their surprise, the opposite happened. Normal mice, with two active copies of the Smad3 gene, were able to seal their wounds in five days. Mice genetically engineered to have a single good Smad3 gene healed in three days. And mice with no Smad3 gene closed their wounds in only two days. Roberts believes the purpose of the slow-healing gene has to do with its role in attracting the immune system. The wounds of mice lacking Smad3 were nearly devoid of immune cells (Nature Cell Biology, vol 1, p 260). In nature, Roberts points out, keeping a wound open and in contact with the immune system may be more important to survival than making the wound close faster. But for some injuries in humans, such as massive wounds or large burns, sealing the skin is the priority. Roberts and her team will now determine whether Smad3 plays a similar role in human wound healing. If so,