The Horse as a Model for the Study of Over-Scarring

The study of scar formation in humans has obvious ethical limitations, especially in people with impaired wound healing. Current understanding of the mechanisms underlying scar formation and fibrosis is primarily derived from the study of experimental animal models. Murine models are commonly studied because of the large number of genetically modified mice that help address specific hypotheses. 


However, wound repair kinetics vary among species; for example, mice heal mainly by contraction while humans lack a panniculus carnosus in the subcutaneous tissue and thus heal more through epithelialization. In contrast to rodents, horses are « tight-skinned » animals whose healing pattern is closer to that seen in humans. Moreover, horses are the only known mammals, aside from humans, to develop excessive granulation tissue resulting in tumor-like growths during wound healing.


In collaboration with researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine – Texas Children’s Hospital and from Precision Consulting, the Theoret lab is attempting to ascertain etiologic similarities between equine EGT and human keloid in view of developing and testing new therapies to counter dermal fibroproliferative disorders in both horse and man. 




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