Wounds treated with cCAF (right) heal faster.

Achicken chemokine can help heal wounds by inducing fibroblasts to become myofibroblasts, according to results reported by Feugate et al. on page 161. The contractile myofibroblasts help close the wound by pulling together the necessary cells and matrix.

Chemokines are better known for their activities in the immune system, but increased production of chicken chemotactic and angiogenic factor (cCAF) has also been observed during wound healing. Now Feugate et al. report that cCAF reduces fibroblast proliferation by 25%, not by increasing cell death, but by inducing differentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts. The differentiated cells make α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and have an increased ability to contract a collagen gel.

Regular application of cCAF to a chicken wound accelerates the early stages of wound healing by almost two days. The authors suggest that a peptide mimetic might accelerate wound healing in humans, whereas a cCAF antagonist might reduce the scar-inducing numbers of myofibroblasts in conditions such as scleroderma. ▪