Genetic ablation of mast cells redefines the role of mast cells in skin wound healing and bleomycin-induced fibrosis

J Invest Dermatol. 2014 Jul;134(7):2005-2015. doi: 10.1038/jid.2014.12. Epub 2014 Jan 9.


Conclusive evidence for the impact of mast cells (MCs) in skin repair is still lacking. Studies in mice examining the role of MC function in the physiology and pathology of skin regenerative processes have obtained contradictory results. To clarify the specific role of MCs in regenerative conditions, here we used a recently developed genetic mouse model that allows conditional MC ablation to examine MC-specific functions in skin. This mouse model is based on the cell type-specific expression of Cre recombinase in connective tissue-type MCs under control of the Mcpt5 promoter and the Cre-inducible diphtheria toxin receptor-mediated cell lineage ablation by diphtheria toxin. In response to excisional skin injury, genetic ablation of MCs did not affect the kinetics of reepithelialization, the formation of vascularized granulation tissue, or scar formation. Furthermore, genetic ablation of MCs failed to prevent the development of skin fibrosis upon bleomycin challenge. The amount of deposited collagen and the biochemistry of collagen fibril crosslinks within fibrotic lesions were comparable in MC-depleted and control mice. Collectively, our findings strongly suggest that significant reduction of MC numbers does not affect skin wound healing and bleomycin-induced fibrosis in mice, and provide to our knowledge previously unreported insight in the long-debated contribution of MCs in skin regenerative processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Bleomycin / pharmacology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibrosis / chemically induced
  • Fibrosis / pathology
  • Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Granulation Tissue / physiology
  • Keratinocytes / pathology
  • Keratinocytes / physiology
  • Leukocytes / pathology
  • Leukocytes / physiology
  • Mast Cells / pathology*
  • Mast Cells / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Skin Diseases* / chemically induced
  • Skin Diseases* / pathology
  • Skin Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Bleomycin