Cytokines and Wound Healing: The Role of Cytokine and Anticytokine Therapy in the Repair Response

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Wound healing is an integrated and complex process involving a large number of regulatory molecules, including proinflammatory cytokines and growth factors, and an orchestrated tissue response. Dysregulation in cytokine or growth factor expression dramatically alters the normal wound healing process, and blocking the inappropriate production of specific proinflammatory cytokines or supplementing the milieu with increased quantities of growth factors has demonstrated the central role played by these mediators. Both protein-based and DNA-based (gene transfer) therapies are currently under clinical development as tools to improve the healing process. Although there has been some success with these approaches in both experimental models and in patients, only through a better understanding of the complexity and diversity of the wound healing process, as well as an improved comprehension of the time-dependent and concentration-dependent responses to individual proinflammatory cytokines or growth factors, will further development in the therapeutic treatment of healing wounds be attained.

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