Hypertrophic scars (HS) result from an imbalance between collagen biosynthesis and matrix degradation during wound healing. In this study a proteomics approach was used to compare the protein profiles of skin tissue obtained from patients with HS and healthy controls. One of the epidermal proteins, galectin-7 was markedly down-regulated in HS. Serum levels of galectin-7 in 27 patients with HS were less than 1/3 of those in 15 healthy controls. Tissue protein expression was subsequently evaluated using immunohistochemical staining on HS tissue and on serially-obtained control tissue during wound healing. Weaker galectin-7 immunoreactivity was detected along the cytoplasmic membrane of basal and suprabasal cells in samples from HS. In addition, galectin-7 was stained in the extracellular space of the upper papillary dermis in HS tissue. Ablative laser treatment, used to induce wound healing of healthy control tissue, demonstrated marked galectin-7 expression at the cytoplasmic membrane on days 3, 5, 14 and 21. Pronounced galectin-7 staining at the upper papillary dermis was detected on days 1, 3 and 10. These results suggest that the differences in galectin-7 expression and subcellular and extracellular distribution may be crucially involved in the pathogenic process of HS.