Wound healing is a fundamental physiological processes to keep the integrity of the skin; fails of healing result in chronic hard-to-heal wound, a common medical problem with high morbidity and mortality. Effective therapies to enhance wound healing are essentially lacking today. The recent discovery of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) as powerful gene regulators provides hope to develop novel RNA-based treatments for a wide variety of diseases; however, the role of ncRNAs in human skin wound healing remains largely unexplored.
We aim to reveal the role(s) of ncRNAs in skin wound healing and explore the potential of RNA-based therapy for chronic wounds. We will primarily focus on small ncRNAs, i.e. microRNAs (miRNAs) and long-non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and characterize their expression profiles in injured human skin during normal wound healing process and in chronic wounds. Next, we will investigate the biological function(s) and the underlying molecular mechanism(s) of the miRNAs/lncRNAs, which are differentially expressed in chronic wounds compared with normal acute wounds. Moreover, we will explore the therapeutic potential of miRNAs using human ex vivo and mouse in vivo wound models.
This study will add new layers of complexity to our understanding of normal skin wound healing, but also of the pathogenesis of chronic wounds, which may lead to the development of novel RNA-based therapies for chronic wounds.