To gain insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying cutaneous wound repair, we performed a large scale screen to identify novel injury-regulated genes. Here we show a strong up-regulation of the RNA and protein levels of the two Ca(2+)-binding proteins S100A8 and S100A9 in the hyperthickened epidermis of acute murine and human wounds and of human ulcers. Furthermore, both genes were expressed by inflammatory cells in the wound. The increased expression of S100A8 and S100A9 in wound keratinocytes is most likely related to the activated state of the keratinocytes and not secondary to the inflammation of the skin, since we also found up-regulation of S100A8 and S100A9 in the epidermis of activin-overexpressing mice, which develop a hyperproliferative and abnormally differentiated epidermis in the absence of inflammation. Furthermore, S100A8 and S100A9 expression was found to be associated with partially differentiated keratinocytes in vitro. Using confocal microscopy, both proteins were shown to be at least partially associated with the keratin cytoskeleton. In addition, cultured keratinocytes efficiently secreted the S100A8/A9 dimer. These results together with previously published data suggest that S100A8 and S100A9 are novel players in wound repair, where they might be involved in the reorganization of the keratin cytoskeleton in the wounded epidermis, in the chemoattraction of inflammatory cells, and/or in the defense against microorganisms.