A β-catenin/T cell factor–dependent transcriptional program is critical during cutaneous wound repair for the regulation of scar size; however, the relative contribution of β-catenin activity and function in specific cell types in the granulation tissue during the healing process is unknown. Here, cell lineage tracing revealed that cells in which β-catenin is transcriptionally active express a gene profile that is characteristic of the myeloid lineage. Mice harboring a macrophage-specific deletion of the gene encoding β-catenin exhibited insufficient skin wound healing due to macrophage-specific defects in migration, adhesion to fibroblasts, and ability to produce TGF-β1. In irradiated mice, only macrophages expressing β-catenin were able to rescue wound-healing deficiency. Evaluation of scar tissue collected from patients with hypertrophic and normal scars revealed a correlation between the number of macrophages within the wound, β-catenin levels, and cellularity. Our data indicate that β-catenin regulates myeloid cell motility and adhesion and that β-catenin–mediated macrophage motility contributes to the number of mesenchymal cells and ultimate scar size following cutaneous injury.
Saeid Amini-Nik, Elizabeth Cambridge, Winston Yu, Anne Guo, Heather Whetstone, Puviindran Nadesan, Raymond Poon, Boris Hinz, Benjamin A. Alman