Junctional Communication and the Wound Healing Response
Gap junctions are ultrastructurally defined specializations of the plasma membranes of adjacent cells. Two general and related roles of junctional transfer, relevant to wound healing, seem fairly unassailable, although again hard evidence is difficult to obtain. Traditionally, a distinction is made in healing between wounds with clean, apposed edges and wounds with separated edges. However, this distinction is quantitative rather than qualitative. The normal distribution of gap junctions and the extent of junctional transfer has been studied in each of these systems and provides the bases for comparison with the wounds. Wound healing can be conveniently subdivided into four phases: inflammation, contraction, repair, and regeneration. These phases are not clearly separable in time since granulation tissue formation e.g., begins during the inflammatory phase, as does regeneration. In any vascularized tissue, wounding usually results in damage to blood vessels, resulting in extravasation of plasma and blood cells.