Role of boundary conditions in an experimental model of epithelial wound healing

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2006 Jul;291(1):C68-75. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00411.2005. Epub 2006 Feb 22.


Coordinated cell movements in epithelial layers are essential for proper tissue morphogenesis and homeostasis, but our understanding of the mechanisms that coordinate the behavior of multiple cells in these processes is far from complete. Recent experiments with Madin-Darby canine kidney epithelial monolayers revealed a wave-like pattern of injury-induced MAPK activation and showed that it is essential for collective cell migration after wounding. To investigate the effects of the different aspects of wounding on cell sheet migration, we engineered a system that allowed us to dissect the classic wound healing assay. We studied Madin-Darby canine kidney sheet migration under three different conditions: 1) the classic wound healing assay, 2) empty space induction, where a confluent monolayer is grown adjacent to a slab of polydimethylsiloxane and the monolayer is not injured but allowed to migrate upon removal of the slab, and 3) injury via polydimethylsiloxane membrane peel-off, where an injured monolayer migrates onto plain tissue culture surface, as in the case of empty space induction allowing for direct comparison. By tracking the motion of individual cells within the sheet under these three conditions, we show how the dynamics of the individual cells' motion is responsible for the coordinated migration of the sheet and is coordinated with the activation of ERK1/2 MAPK. In addition, we demonstrate that the propagation of the waves of MAPK activation depends on the generation of reactive oxygen species at the wound edge.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Dogs
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / enzymology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / physiology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases