There remains a critical need for new therapeutics that promote wound healing in patients suffering from chronic skin wounds. This is, in part, due to a shortage of simple, physiologically and clinically relevant test systems for investigating candidate agents. The skin of amphibians possesses a remarkable regenerative capacity, which remains insufficiently explored for clinical purposes. Combining comparative biology with a translational medicine approach, we report the development and application of a simple ex vivo frog (Xenopus tropicalis) skin organ culture system that permits exploration of the effects of amphibian skin-derived agents on re-epithelialisation in both frog and human skin. Using this amphibian model, we identify thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) as a novel stimulant of epidermal regeneration. Moving to a complementary human ex vivo wounded skin assay, we demonstrate that the effects of TRH are conserved across the amphibian-mammalian divide: TRH stimulates wound closure and formation of neo-epidermis in organ-cultured human skin, accompanied by increased keratinocyte proliferation and wound healing-associated differentiation (cytokeratin 6 expression). Thus, TRH represents a novel, clinically relevant neuroendocrine wound repair promoter that deserves further exploration. These complementary frog and human skin ex vivo assays encourage a comparative biology approach in future wound healing research so as to facilitate the rapid identification and preclinical testing of novel, evolutionarily conserved, and clinically relevant wound healing promoters.
|Publication status||Published - 01.12.2013|