The hedgehog family of morphogens (sonic [Shh], Indian, and desert hedgehog) are central regulators of embryologic growth and tissue patterning. Although recent work implicates Shh in postnatal tissue repair and development, conclusive evidence is lacking. Here, we demonstrated the importance of Shh in wound repair, by examining the effects of cyclopamine, a specific inhibitor of the Shh signaling cascade, on tissue repair. Using a murine-splinted excisional wound model, which attenuates wound contraction in this loose-skinned rodent, we established that, by all measures (wound closure, epithelialization, granulation formation, vascularity, and proliferation), wound healing was profoundly impaired when Shh signaling was disrupted. Because embryonic disruption of Shh is associated with distinct phenotypic defects, our findings invite investigation of the potential role of Shh signaling under postnatal conditions associated with disregulated wound healing.
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