Scar-free Cutaneous Excisional Wound Healing in an Amniote Model, the Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius)
Cutaneous wounds heal with two possible outcomes: scarification or near-perfect integumentary restoration. I hypothesized that scar-free cutaneous wound healing involves a modulated, but comparable sequence of tissue events to scar-formation. I investigated healing following full-thickness excisional cutaneous wounds on the original tail and body of the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius). All injuries healed without scarring. Wound epithelium closure was rapid, but collagen deposition was delayed. The provisional tissue within the wound bed was strikingly avascular until 5–8 days post wounding. Once initiated, neo-vasculature was characterized by perivascular cell- supported blood vessels. The vascular density of the wound bed never appeared to exceed that of the uninjured dermis. I conclude that in scar-free wound healing the duration and magnitude of tissue events, particularly new blood vessel growth, is altered compared to reports of scarring wounds, but the sequence of tissue events is broadly conserved between the two modes of wound healing.