New UCI-led study reveals major differences between young and aged skin wounds

Researchers at UCI P30 Skin Center report that aging induces significant alterations in how cells populate and communicate with each other in healing skin wounds. The study, titled, “Wound healing in aged skin exhibits systems-level alterations in cellular composition and cell-cell communication” was published on 8/3/22 in Cell Reports.

“In this study, we use cutting-edge single-cell RNA-sequencing technology coupled with a number of innovative experimental and computational pipelines to analyze the cell types that populate a healing skin wound, and predict how these cells communicate with each other using molecules that mediate signaling from one cell to another”, said Xing Dai, Ph.D., professor of Biological Chemistry at UCI School of Medicine.  “Our discovery of major cellular, molecular, and signaling cross-talk differences between young and aged skin exposes numerous targets for remedy and hypotheses for future investigation”.

Delayed and often impaired wound healing in the elderly presents major medical and socioeconomic challenges. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that coordinately contribute to declined healing in aging skin remain elusive. The research team, composed of both experimental and computational biologists in the Dai lab and the laboratory of Qing Nie, Ph.D., professor and director of the NSF-Simons Center for Multiscale Cell Fate Research at UCI, now adds a major missing piece to this puzzle. The study was made possible, in part, through the support of the P30 Genomics-Bioinformatics Core.