Patients suffering from large scars such as burn victims not only encounter aesthetic challenges but also ongoing itching or pain that substantially deteriorates their quality of life. Skin appendages such as hair follicles rarely regenerate within the healing wound. Because they are crucial for skin homeostasis and the lack thereof constitutes one of the main limitations to scarless wound healing, their regeneration represents a major objective for regenerative medicine. Fibroblasts, the main resident cell type of the skin dermis, mediate embryonic hair follicle morphogenesis and are particularly involved in wound healing because they orchestrate extracellular matrix remodeling and collagen deposition in the wound bed. Importantly, dermal fibroblasts originate from two distinct developmental lineages with unique functions that differently mediate the response to epidermal signals such as Hedgehog signaling. In this study, we show that Hedgehog signaling in the reticular fibroblast lineage promotes the initial phase of wound repair, possibly by modulating angiogenesis and fibroblast proliferation, whereas Hedgehog signaling in papillary fibroblasts is essential to induce de novo hair follicle formation within the healing wound.
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