Laser capture microdissection-based in vivo genomic profiling of wound keratinocytes identifies similarities and differences to squamous cell carcinoma

Oncogene. 2003 Jun 19;22(25):3964-76. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1206614.


Keratinocytes undergo a dramatic phenotypic conversion during reepithelialization of skin wounds to become hyperproliferative, migratory, and invasive. This transient healing response phenotypically resembles malignant transformation of keratinocytes during squamous cell carcinoma progression. Here we present the first analysis of global changes in keratinocyte gene expression during skin wound healing in vivo, and compare these changes to changes in gene expression during malignant conversion of keratinized epithelium. Laser capture microdissection was used to isolate RNA from wound keratinocytes from incisional mouse skin wounds and adjacent normal skin keratinocytes. Changes in gene expression were determined by comparative cDNA array analyses, and the approach was validated by in situ hybridization. The analyses identified 48 candidate genes not previously associated with wound reepithelialization. Furthermore, the analyses revealed that the phenotypic resemblance of wound keratinocytes to squamous cell carcinoma is mimicked at the level of gene expression, but notable differences between the two tissue-remodeling processes were also observed. The combination of laser capture microdissection and cDNA array analysis provides a powerful new tool to unravel the complex changes in gene expression that underlie physiological and pathological remodeling of keratinized epithelium.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cell Separation / instrumentation
  • Cell Separation / methods
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Epidermis / injuries
  • Gene Expression Profiling* / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism*
  • Lasers
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Skin / injuries*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Wound Healing / genetics*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Neoplasm