Autologous micrograft accelerates endogenous wound healing response through ERK-induced cell migration

Cell Death Differ. 2020 May;27(5):1520-1538. doi: 10.1038/s41418-019-0433-3. Epub 2019 Oct 25.


Defective cell migration causes delayed wound healing (WH) and chronic skin lesions. Autologous micrograft (AMG) therapies have recently emerged as a new effective and affordable treatment able to improve wound healing capacity. However, the precise molecular mechanism through which AMG exhibits its beneficial effects remains unrevealed. Herein we show that AMG improves skin re-epithelialization by accelerating the migration of fibroblasts and keratinocytes. More specifically, AMG-treated wounds showed improvement of indispensable events associated with successful wound healing such as granulation tissue formation, organized collagen content, and newly formed blood vessels. We demonstrate that AMG is enriched with a pool of WH-associated growth factors that may provide the starting signal for a faster endogenous wound healing response. This work links the increased cell migration rate to the activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway, which is followed by an increase in matrix metalloproteinase expression and their extracellular enzymatic activity. Overall we reveal the AMG-mediated wound healing transcriptional signature and shed light on the AMG molecular mechanism supporting its potential to trigger a highly improved wound healing process. In this way, we present a framework for future improvements in AMG therapy for skin tissue regeneration applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement* / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Keratinocytes / enzymology
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Skin Transplantation*
  • Solubility
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Wound Healing* / genetics


  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases