The basic science of wound healing

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2006 Jun;117(7 Suppl):12S-34S. doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000225430.42531.c2.


Understanding wound healing today involves much more than simply stating that there are three phases: "inflammation, proliferation, and maturation." Wound healing is a complex series of reactions and interactions among cells and "mediators." Each year, new mediators are discovered and our understanding of inflammatory mediators and cellular interactions grows. This article will attempt to provide a concise report of the current literature on wound healing by first reviewing the phases of wound healing followed by "the players" of wound healing: inflammatory mediators (cytokines, growth factors, proteases, eicosanoids, kinins, and more), nitric oxide, and the cellular elements. The discussion will end with a pictorial essay summarizing the wound-healing process.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells / immunology
  • Chemotaxis / immunology
  • Collagen / physiology
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Eicosanoids / immunology
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / immunology
  • Hemostasis / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / immunology*
  • Nitric Oxide / immunology
  • Time Factors
  • Wound Healing / immunology*
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • Cytokines
  • Eicosanoids
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Collagen