The inflammation-fibrosis link? A Jekyll and Hyde role for blood cells during wound repair

J Invest Dermatol. 2007 May;127(5):1009-17. doi: 10.1038/sj.jid.5700811.


The healing of a skin wound is a complex process involving many cell lineages. In adult tissues, repair is always accompanied by a robust inflammatory response, which is necessary to counter the potential for infection at any site where the skin barrier is breached. Unlike embryonic tissues that can repair perfectly without a remnant scar at the wound site, adult tissue repair always leads to formation of a fibrotic scar where the wound has healed. In recent years, it has become clear that the wound inflammatory response may be, at least in part, responsible for fibrosis at sites of tissue repair. In this review, we consider the beneficial vs the detrimental functions of inflammatory cells during the repair response and compare data from other tissues, the lung, and liver, where fibrosis and its resolution may be related to a damage-triggered inflammatory response. We also consider how it may be possible to molecularly disentangle the potentially good from the bad influences of inflammatory cells during tissue repair and how fundamental studies in inflammatory cell biology may prove the way forward for development of drug targets in this respect.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Cells / physiology*
  • Cicatrix / pathology
  • Cicatrix / physiopathology
  • Fibrosis / pathology
  • Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Skin / physiopathology
  • Wound Healing / physiology*