Wound healing is a multistep process with four overlapping but distinct stages: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. An alteration at any stage may lead to the development of chronic non-healing wounds or excessive scar formation. Impaired wound healing presents a significant health and economic burden to millions of individuals worldwide, with diabetes mellitus and aging being major risk factors. Ongoing understanding of the mechanisms that underly wound healing is required for the development of new and improved therapies that increase repair. Chemokines are key regulators of the wound healing process. They are involved in the promotion and inhibition of angiogenesis and the recruitment of inflammatory cells, which release growth factors and cytokines to facilitate the wound healing process. Preclinical research studies in mice show that the administration of CCL2, CCL21, CXCL12, and a CXCR4 antagonist as well as broad-spectrum inhibition of the CC-chemokine class improve the wound healing process. The focus of this review is to highlight the contributions of chemokines during each stage of wound healing and to discuss the related molecular pathologies in complex and chronic non-healing wounds. We explore the therapeutic potential of targeting chemokines as a novel approach to overcome the debilitating effects of impaired wound healing.
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