Roles of lactoferrin on skin wound healing

Biochem Cell Biol. 2012 Jun;90(3):497-503. doi: 10.1139/o11-054. Epub 2012 Feb 14.


Skin wound healing is a complex biological process that requires the regulation of different cell types, including immune cells, keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells. It consists of 5 stages: hemostasis, inflammation, granulation tissue formation, re-epithelialization, and wound remodeling. While inflammation is essential for successful wound healing, prolonged or excess inflammation can result in nonhealing chronic wounds. Lactoferrin, an iron-binding glycoprotein secreted from glandular epithelial cells into body fluids, promotes skin wound healing by enhancing the initial inflammatory phase. Lactoferrin also exhibits anti-inflammatory activity that neutralizes overabundant immune response. Accumulating evidence suggests that lactoferrin directly promotes both the formation of granulation tissue and re-epithelialization. Lactoferrin stimulates the proliferation and migration of fibroblasts and keratinocytes and enhances the synthesis of extracellular matrix components, such as collagen and hyaluronan. In an in vitro model of wound contraction, lactoferrin promoted fibroblast-mediated collagen gel contraction. These observations indicate that lactoferrin supports multiple biological processes involved in wound healing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement
  • Dermatitis / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lactoferrin / metabolism
  • Lactoferrin / physiology*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Skin / injuries
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Wound Healing*


  • Lactoferrin