In a massive breakthrough, researchers have a found a way to manipulate wounds to heal as regenerated skin, rather than scar tissue.
By transforming the most common type of cells found in wounds into fat cells, scientists have carried out a breakthrough.
Fat cells called adipocytes are generally found in the skin, but they are lost when wounds heal following scarring.
The most common cells found in healing wounds are myofibroblasts thought to form only a scar. Scar tissue lacks hair follicles which is another factor that grants it an abnormal appearance from the remainder of the skin.
Researchers at US University of Pennsylvania based their work on changing the myofibroblasts into fat cells that are not associated with scarring.
The wound healing can be manipulated so it leads to skin regeneration rather than scarring. The aim is to regenerate hair follicles before. Once that occurs, the fat will regenerate in response to signals from these follicles.
The study has also shown hair and fat may develop separately, but not independently. Hair follicles form first. Additional factors are produced by the regenerating hair follicle to convert the surrounding myofibroblasts to regenerate as fat instead of forming a scar.
The fat will not form in the absence of new hair, but once it does, the new cells cannot be distinguished from the pre-existing fat cells. This gives the wound a natural look while healing, instead of leaving a scar.
Researchers identified a BMP or Bone Morphogenetic Protein
that instructs myofibroblasts to become fat. This signaling forms the basis of the breakthrough.
Myofibroblasts were initially thought to be incapable of becoming a different type of cell. But the work of these scientists shows that we have the ability to influence these cells and they can be efficiently and stably converted to fat cells.
Adipocyte cells are lost naturally because of the aging process, especially in the face which leads to permanent, deep wrinkles. Anti-aging treatment cannot fix this in a satisfactory way.