The transcription factor Foxn1 is essential for skin development. Our previous studies performed on young C57BL/6J mice model showed that Foxn1 acts as regulator of the skin wound healing process. The present study extended our initial research regarding the expression and potential role of Foxn1 in the intact and wounded skin as a function of animal age and stage of the wound healing process. We analyzed Foxn1 and Mmp-9 expression in the intact and postinjured skin of young, adult, and old C57BL/6J and transgenic Foxn1::Egfp mice. The similar levels of epidermal Foxn1 mRNA expression were detected in young and adult C57BL/6J mice and higher levels in old animals. Postinjured skin tissues displayed a gradual decrease of Foxn1 mRNA expression at Days 1, 5, and 7 after injury. Foxn1-eGFP positive cells were abundant at wound margin and in re-epithelialized epidermis at postwounded Days 1, 5, and 7 and colocalized with E-cadherin and Mmp-9. Postwounded skin at Days 14-36 displayed Foxn1-eGFP cells in the epidermis and in the dermal part of the skin (papillary dermis). A subset of Foxn1-eGFP positive cells in the papillary dermis expressed the myofibroblast marker αSMA. Flow cytometric analysis of cells isolated from postwounded (Day 7) skin tissues showed a significant increase in the percentage of Foxn1-eGFP positive cells with phenotype of double positivity for E-cadherin/N-cadherin (epithelial/mesenchymal markers). Collectively, these data identify the transcription factor Foxn1 as a potential key epidermal regulator modifying both epidermal and dermal healing processes after cutaneous wounding.
© 2017 by the Wound Healing Society.