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, 118 (3), 186-91

Morphological and Distribution Characteristics of Sweat Glands in Hypertrophic Scar and Their Possible Effects on Sweat Gland Regeneration

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  • PMID: 15740645

Morphological and Distribution Characteristics of Sweat Glands in Hypertrophic Scar and Their Possible Effects on Sweat Gland Regeneration

Xiao-Bing Fu et al. Chin Med J (Engl).

Abstract

Background: In hypertrophic scar tissue, no sweet gland and hair follicle exist usually because of the dermal and epidermal damage in extensive thermal skin injury, thus imparing regulation of body temperature. This study was designed to reveal the morphological and distributional characteristics of the sweat glands in normal skin and hypertrophic scar obtained from children and adults, and to study the possible interfering effects of the scar on regeneration of the sweat gland after burn injury.

Methods: Biopsies of hypertrophic scar were taken from four children (4 - 10 years) and four adults (35 - 51 years). Normal, uninjured full-thickness skin adjacent to the scar of each patient was used as control. Keratin 19 (K19) was used as the marker for epidermal stem cells and secretory portion of the sweat glands, and keratin 14 (K14) for the tube portion, respectively. Immunohistochemical and histological evaluations were performed.

Results: Histological and immunohistochemical staining of skin tissue sections from both the children and adults showed K19 positive cells in the basement membrane of epidermis of normal skin. These cells were seen only single layer and arranged regularly. The secretory or duct portion of the eccrine sweat glands was situated in the dermis and epidermal layer. However, in the scar tissue, K19 positive cells were scant in the basal layer, and the anatomic location of the secretory portion of sweat glands changed. They were located between the border of the scar and reticular layer of the dermis. These secretory portions of sweat glands were expanded and were organized irregularly. But a few K14 positive cells were scattered in the scar tissues in cyclic form.

Conclusions: There are some residual sweat glands in scar tissues, in which the regeneration process of active sweat glands is present. Possibly the sweat glands could regenerate from adult epidermal stem cells or residual sweat glands in the wound bed after burn injury.

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