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1 week ago

Scar Team

Why do some angry (hypertrophic) scars become excessively pigmented while others become under-pigmented? This strange clinical phenomenon can be very distressing for patients as the patches of variable colour can draw the eye. This month, a group in Washington, USA, has published a paper about this topic. In a pre-clinical model, they analysed thousands of molecules simultaneously (messenger RNA molecule analysis). They found that in under-pigmented scars, pathways related to inflammation were more active. In over-pigmented scars, stem cells were activated and there was increased manufacture of the pigment protein, melanin. They identified many markers for altered pigmentation that may prove useful to improve colour mismatch in years to come. This study was powerful in that it surveyed large numbers of molecular pathways simultaneously and the skin analysed only differed in pigmentation - the tissue was identical in all other respects which is always vital in studies of this kind. However, the model used was not human skin and as such, it remains to see how many of the identified markers have real world relevance. ...

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