The skin is the largest organ that protects our body from the external environment and it is constantly exposed to pathogenic insults and injury. Repair of damage to this organ is carried out by a complex process involving three overlapping phases of inflammation, proliferation and remodeling. Histological analysis of wounded skin is a convenient approach to examine broad alterations in tissue architecture and investigate cells in their indigenous microenvironment. In this article we present a protocol for immunohistochemical examination of wounded skin to study mechanisms involved in regulating stem cell activity, which is a vital component in the repair of the damaged tissue. Performing such histological analysis enables the understanding of the spatial relationship between cells that interact in the specialized wound microenvironment. The analytical tools described herein permit the quantitative measurement of the regenerative ability of stem cells adjacent to the wound and the extent of re-epithelialization during wound closure. These protocols can be adapted to investigate numerous cellular processes and cell types within the wounded skin.
Keywords: Epithelial stem cells; Histology; Immune cells; Immunohistochemistry; Re-epithelialization; Skin; Wound healing.
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