Researchers investigated the pathophysiology of poor wound healing by switching oxygen levels from 21% to 2% in myofibroblasts, the cells essential for the repair process.
Cell culture for 5 days at 2% oxygen represents hypoxia and significantly reduced myofibroblast differentiation and contraction. On switching from high to low oxygen, alpha-smooth muscle actin disassembly from stress fibres occurred as a result of reduced myofibroblast contraction. Restoring high oxygen reversed these effects.
The authors propose that ischaemic wound healing could be improved by supporting myofibroblast formation.
Modarressi A, Pietramaggiori G, Godbout C et al. J Invest Dermatol 2010; 130: 2818-27