Wound healing in oral mucosa results in reduced scar formation as compared with skin: evidence from the red Duroc pig model and humans

Wound Repair Regen. Sep-Oct 2009;17(5):717-29. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-475X.2009.00531.x.


Scar formation is a common, unwanted result of wound healing in skin, but the mechanisms that regulate it are still largely unknown. Interestingly, wound healing in the oral mucosa proceeds faster than in skin and clinical observations have suggested that mucosal wounds rarely scar. To test this concept, we created identical experimental wounds in the oral mucosa and skin in red Duroc pigs and compared wound healing and scar development over time. We also compared the pig oral mucosal wound healing to similar experimental wounds created in human subjects. The findings showed significantly reduced scar formation at both clinical and histological level in the pig oral mucosa as compared with skin 49 days after wounding. Additionally, the skin scars contained a significantly increased number of type I procollagen immunopositive cells and an increased fibronectin content, while the oral mucosal wounds demonstrated a prolonged accumulation of tenascin-C. Furthermore, the pig oral mucosal wounds showed similar molecular composition and clinical and histological scar scores to human oral mucosal wounds. Thus, the reduced scar formation in the pig oral mucosa provides a model to study the biological processes that regulate scarless wound healing to find novel approaches to prevent scar formation in skin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Cicatrix / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Mucosa / injuries
  • Mouth Mucosa / physiopathology*
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Skin / physiopathology*
  • Swine*
  • Wound Healing / physiology*
  • Young Adult