Altered angiogenic balance in keloids: a key to therapeutic intervention

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Keloids are manifestations of abnormal wound repair with unresolved clinical complications. An effective therapeutic regimen has not been established for keloids, and current strategies are plagued by problems such as recurrence and side effects. Keloids, being a human-specific dermal fibroproliferative disorder are characterized by an excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM), thickened basement membrane, unregulated expression of matrix metalloproteases, growth factors, and cytokines. The internal milieu in a keloid bears a strong resemblance to a tumor with both exhibiting striking similarities with respect to tissue environment and unregulated vasculature. Abnormal angiogenesis manifested by an imbalance between proangiogenic and antiangiogenic factors has been recognized as a “common denominator” underlying many pathological conditions. However, such an imbalance has not been investigated in keloids. In this study, the angiogenic imbalance in keloids was explored with reference to circulating and tissue level expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and endostatin/collagen XVIII. It was observed that VEGF levels were upregulated and endostatin levels were downregulated in keloid patients in comparison to normal controls in both sera and tissue. Hence, antiangiogenic therapeutics based on endostatin in combination with current curative strategies as in tumors would present a scope for the effective management of keloids.

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