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Adult dermal wounds, in contrast to foetal wounds, heal with the formation of scar tissue. A crucial factor in determining the nature of the healed tissue is the ratio of collagen 1 to collagen 3, which regulates the diameter of collagen fibres. We develop a mathematical model which focuses on the stimulus for collagen synthesis due to the secretion of the different isoforms of the regulatory chemical transforming growth factor beta. Numerical simulations of the model lead to a value of this ratio consistent with that of healthy tissue for the foetus but corresponding to scarring in adult wound healing. We investigate the effect of topical application of TGF beta isoforms during healing and determine the key parameters which control the difference between adult and foetal repair.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Biol Sci

Publication Date





653 - 660


Animals, Cicatrix, Collagen, Female, Fetus, Mathematics, Models, Biological, Pregnancy, Prenatal Injuries, Skin, Transforming Growth Factor beta, Wound Healing