Gina Kolata has an interesting story in the Times – Imagine, Surgery Without a Scar. The researchers, in an article published in the April 23 Science, found that inhibiting Engrailed-1 activation in fibroblasts remarkably inhibits scarring after wounding in mice. If similar results are found in humans, this would be a great boon for many patients.
From the paper:
Wounds in adult mammals typically heal by forming fibrotic scars. Mascharak et al. found that a specific population of skin fibroblasts (Engrailed-1 lineage–negative fibroblasts) activate expression of Engrailed-1 and turn on profibrotic cellular programs in response to local tissue mechanics in wounds (see the Perspective by Konieczny and Naik). When mechanical signaling was inhibited in these cells (using either genetic deletion or small-molecule inhibition), skin wounds in mice no longer formed scars but instead healed by regeneration, restoring skin with normal hair follicles and glands, extracellular matrix, and mechanical strength.