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Title: The role of Protein Kinase Cα in the skin and cutaneous wound healing
Author: Cooper, Nichola
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 7157
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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Chronic wounds represent a severe socio-economic burden and a key area of unmet clinical need. PKCα is ubiquitous in the skin, particularly the epidermis and functions in numerous pathways that are fundamental to wound repair. By utilising a global PKCα-/- mouse we have identified PKCα-regulated processes both in unwounded skin and during wound healing. PKCα-/- mice display considerably delayed wound healing with a dramatic reduction in re-epithelialisation. By analysing the ultrastructure of the epidermis, I have shown that this delay directly correlates with a failure of wound edge desmosomes to switch to a their adhesive properties. A major risk factor for the development of chronic wounds is age. Crucially, this delay in modulating cell adhesion is conserved in human chronic wounds and aged murine skin. Furthermore, manipulation of PKCα using an inducible bitransgenic mouse containing epidermal specific constitutively active PKCα can accelerate the modulation of desmosome adhesion and subsequently improve re-epithelialisation. Global gene expression analysis of PKCα-/- skin and wounds revealed further defects. Upon wounding, we observed a failure to correctly regulate expression of key collagen and Wnt signalling genes that are essential for correct and timely wound healing. Finally, intrinsic gene expression changes were identified in the skin of PKCα-/- mice, specifically a downregulation of multiple extracellular matrix genes. Of note was the downregulation of small leucine-rich proteoglycans which led to alterations to dermal collagen structure and skin tensile strength. These changes render the PKCα-/- skin susceptible to breaking and wound development. To conclude, we have identified multiple roles for PKCα intrinsically in the skin and also during cutaneous wound healing. Importantly, these intrinsic changes appear to predispose PKCα-/- skin to the development of cutaneous wounds and altered wound-specific processes that manifest in a delayed healing phenotype.
Supervisor: Hardman, Matthew; Travis, Mark Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Desmosome ; Wound healing ; Collagen ; Extracellular matrix