The actin cytoskeleton is an essential network of filaments that is found in all cells and has an important role in regulating cellular activities. The dynamic regulation of cytoskeletal synthesis, remodelling and function is critical for many physiological processes and is integral for the successful repair of wounds. Wound healing relies on the fine balance between cellular proliferation, adhesion and migration, resulting in tightly controlled equilibrium between tissue regeneration and fibrosis. The actin cytoskeleton regulates all these processes and is therefore an important factor contributing to the re-establishment of the skin barrier function, restoration of the skin anatomical structure and wound repair; however, it also inevitably results in scar formation. Regulation of the actin cytoskeleton is tightly controlled by several large protein families, which are discussed in this chapter. Members of the FERM superfamily of proteins, the filamin and tropomyosin families of actin-associated proteins as well as the gelsolin family of actin remodelling proteins are all important regulators of the actin cytoskeleton, which can affect different stages of wound healing. Targeted therapies against different proteins involved in cytoskeletal regulation may lead to novel therapeutic interventions aimed at improving wound healing and reducing scar formation.
Part of the book: Wound Healing
Burns are characterised by significant local swelling and redness around the site of injury, indicative of acute inflammation. Whilst the inflammatory response is fundamental to the healing process, triggering a cascade of cytokines and growth factors to protect against the risk of infection, it is clear that prolonged inflammation can be detrimental and lead to scarring and fibrosis. Severe burns may display chronic, persistent inflammation long after the initial burn injury and may even result in multiple organ failure (MOF) due to systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). Excessive inflammation in the early stages of healing has been identified as a causative factor in the formation of scars which can be disfiguring, functionally restrictive and may require revisionary surgeries. Therefore, it is imperative that inflammation is effectively managed following burn injuries in order to optimise the benefits it provides whilst actively preventing the complications of inflammation including SIRS, multiple organ failure (MOF) and the development of scarring and fibrosis. Reviewing the current knowledge about the role of the inflammatory response in burns and the treatments available for the management of inflammation during wound healing, highlights the importance of continued research into understanding and developing new approaches to regulate inflammatory responses post-burn injuries.
Part of the book: Hot Topics in Burn Injuries