Growth factor expression in normal and wounded skin: an investigation of scar-free wound healing in the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius)
The skin is the primary interface between an organism and its environment. Following injury, there are two possible outcomes: scar formation or scar-free wound healing. Although the epidermis is understood to play a role during scar-free skin repair, few details are currently available. Here I conducted a spatio-temporal characterization of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2), and transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) in the epidermis of the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius). I show that each VEGF, FGF-2 and TGFβ are widely expressed within the normal and injured epidermis. My data indicate that these growth factors may play various non-angiogenic roles, including keratinocyte proliferation, protect against ultraviolet photodamage, and facilitate in photobiosynthesis of vitamin D3. Co-localization or overlapping expression patterns with VEGF and FGF-2 receptors suggests that both paracrine and autocrine signalling may participate in homeostatic and injury-mediated functions of the epidermis.