Eccrine Sweat Glands' Role in Wound Healing Revealed

November 21, 2012

Human eccrine sweat glands store a reservoir of adult stem cells that may be recruited to aid wound healing, a new report suggests. According to University of Michigan researchers behind the study (Am J Pathol. E-pub), sweat glands appear to play a pivotal role in wound healing. For the study, partial-thickness wounds were generated on healthy human forearms, and epidermal repair was studied in skin biopsy samples. Data show that eccrine sweat glands generate keratinocyte outgrowths that ultimately form new epidermis; the rate of expansion of keratinocyte outgrowths from eccrine sweat glands parallels the rate of reepithelialization. “It may be surprising that it's taken until now to discover the sweat glands' vital role in wound repair,” lead author Laure Rittié, PhD said in a statement. “But there's a good reason why these specific glands are under-studied – eccrine sweat glands are unique to humans and absent in the body skin of laboratory animals that are commonly used for wound healing research.”

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