Distinctive integrin expression in the newly forming epidermis during wound healing in humans

A. Cavani, G. Zambruno, A. Marconi, V. Manca, M. Marchetti, A. Giannetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The integrin receptor family plays a fundamental role in mediating cell attachment to a variety of extracellular matrix molecules. In normal human epidermis, the α 2β 1, α 3β 1, α 6β 4, and α(v)β 5 integrin heterodimers are expressed and appear largely confined to the basal cell layer. In the present study, β 1, β 4, and α(v) integrin expression in the epidermis during wound healing in humans was examined. Punch biopsies were performed on healthy volunteers. At daily intervals up to day 8, and at days 11, 14, 21, and 28, the wound site was surgically removed. Using immunofluorescence microscopy several modifications of the integrin expression pattern were observed on migrating keratinocytes during the re-epithelialization phase of the wound-healing process: i) α(v) expression was strongly enhanced and polarized at the basal pole of basal keratinocytes; ii) amont hte β 1 integrins, α 3β 1 was overexpressed and distributed over the entire basal keratinocyte membrane and a weak α 5β 1 reactivity became evident; and iii) α 6β 4 was dtected as a linear staining along the newly forming dermal-epidermal junction. Moreover, both during the re-epithelialization phase and during the first 2 weeks after wound closure, α 3, α 6, α(v), β 1, and β 4 were no longer confined to the basal layer, as in normal epidermis, but were also found on several suprabasal cell layers. These results suggest that α(v)β 5, α 3β 1, and α 5β 1 may be the main integrin receptors mediating keratinocyte spreading and migration over the provisional matrix of the wound bed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-604
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • adhesion molecules
  • keratinocytes
  • wound repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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