Skin has a remarkable ability to mend itself – just think about the number of times you’ve cut your finger or grazed your knee. When skin gets cut, blood leaking out of the wound clots and forms a protective scab within minutes. This shields the cut while cells around the edge of the wound multiply to replace lost tissue and fill in the gap. Scientists still don’t understand exactly what controls this process, but there are many chemical signals at play. Even our hormones are important. The scabby wound shown here (stained darker pink) is actually seven-days old – by this point it should have almost healed up completely. But this skin comes from a mouse that has no ovaries, and can’t produce the hormone oestrogen, which is important for the healing process. Studies like this help scientists piece together how and why our skin is so good at fixing itself.
Written by Emma Stoye
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.