Single-Cell RNA-seq Analysis Reveals Cellular Functional Heterogeneity in Dermis Between Fibrotic and Regenerative Wound Healing Fates

Cao Jie Chen, Hiroki Kajita, Kento Takaya, Noriko Aramaki-Hattori, Shigeki Sakai, Toru Asou, Kazuo Kishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Fibrotic scars are common in both human and mouse skin wounds. However, wound-induced hair neogenesis in the murine wounding models often results in regenerative repair response. Herein, we aimed to uncover cellular functional heterogeneity in dermis between fibrotic and regenerative wound healing fates. Methods: The expression matrix of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) data of fibrotic and regenerative wound dermal cells was filtered, normalized, and scaled; underwent principal components analysis; and further analyzed by Uniform Manifold Approximation and Projection (UMAP) for dimension reduction with the Seurat package. Cell types were annotated, and cell–cell communications were analyzed. The core cell population myofibroblast was identified and the biological functions of ligand and receptor genes between myofibroblast and macrophage were evaluated. Specific genes between fibrotic and regenerative myofibroblast and macrophage were identified. Temporal dynamics of myofibroblast and macrophage were reconstructed with the Monocle tool. Results: Across dermal cells, there were six cell types, namely, EN1-negative myofibroblasts, EN1-positive myofibroblasts, hematopoietic cells, macrophages, pericytes, and endothelial cells. Ligand and receptor genes between myofibroblasts and macrophages mainly modulated cell proliferation and migration, tube development, and the TGF-β pathway. Specific genes that were differentially expressed in fibrotic compared to regenerative myofibroblasts or macrophages were separately identified. Specific genes between fibrotic and regenerative myofibroblasts were involved in the mRNA metabolic process and organelle organization. Specific genes between fibrotic and regenerative macrophages participated in regulating immunity and phagocytosis. We then observed the underlying evolution of myofibroblasts or macrophages. Conclusion: Collectively, our findings reveal that myofibroblasts and macrophages may alter the skin wound healing fate through modulating critical signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number875407
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May 17


  • fibrosis
  • macrophage
  • myofibroblast
  • regeneration
  • single-cell RNA sequencing
  • skin wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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