Regulation of tissue repair and regeneration by electric fields

Chin J Traumatol. 2010 Feb;13(1):55-61.


Endogenous electric fields (EFs) have been detected at wounds and damaged tissues. The potential roles of EFs in tissue repair and regeneration have been an intriguing topic for centuries. Recent researches have provided significant insights into how naturally occurring EFs may participate in the control of tissue repair and regeneration. Applied EFs equivalent to the size of fields measured in vivo direct cell migration, cell proliferation and nerve sprouting at wounds. More remarkably, physiological EFs are a guidance cue that directs cell migration which overrides other well accepted directional signals including initial injury stimulation, wound void, contact inhibition release, population pressure and chemotaxis. EFs activate many intracellular signaling pathways in a directional manner. Modulation of endogenous wound EFs affects epithelial cell migration, cell proliferation, and nerve growth at cornea wounds in vivo. Electric stimulation is being tested clinically for the treatments of bone fracture, wound healing and spinal cord injury. EFs thus may represent a novel type of signaling paradigm in tissue repair and regeneration. Combination of the electric stimulation and other well understood biochemical regulatory mechanisms may offer powerful and effective therapies for tissue repair and regeneration. This review introduces experimental evidence for the existence of endogenous EFs and discusses their roles in tissue repair and regeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Regeneration*
  • Wound Healing*
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology