Dermal fibroblast heterogeneity and its contribution to the skin repair and regeneration.

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Dermal fibroblasts are the major cell type in the skin’s dermal layer. These cells originate from distinct locations of the embryo and reside in unique niches in the dermis. Different dermal fibroblasts exhibit distinct roles in skin development, homeostasis and wound healing. Therefore, these cells are becoming attractive candidates for cell-based therapies in wound healing. Recent Advances: Human skin dermis comprises multiple fibroblast subtypes including papillary, reticular and hair follicle associated fibroblasts, and myofibroblasts after wounding. Recent studies reveal that these cells play distinct roles in wound healing and contribute to diverse healing outcomes including non-healing chronic wound or excessive scar formation such as hypertrophic scars and keloids, with papillary fibroblasts having anti-scaring and reticular fibroblasts scar-forming properties.The identities and functions of dermal fibroblast subpopulations in many respects remain unknown. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of dermal fibroblast heterogeneity, including their defined cell markers and dermal niches, dynamic changes and contributions to skin wound healing, with the emphasis on scarless healing, healing with excessive scars (hypertrophic scars and keloids), chronic wounds and the potential application of this heterogeneity for the developing cell-based therapies that allow wounds to heal faster with less scarring.Heterogeneous dermal fibroblast populations and their functions are poorly characterized. Refining and advancing our understanding of dermal fibroblast heterogeneity and their participation in skin homeostasis and wound healing may create potential therapeutic applications for non-healing chronic wounds or wounds healing with excessive scaring.

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Authors: Meilang Xue, Ruilong Zhao, Lyn March, Christopher J Jackson