The Notch signaling pathway is critically involved in cell fate decisions during development of many tissues and organs. In the present study we employed in vivo and cell culture models to elucidate the role of Notch signaling in wound healing. The healing of full-thickness dermal wounds was significantly delayed in Notch antisense transgenic mice and in normal mice treated with gamma-secretase inhibitors that block proteolytic cleavage and activation of Notch. In contrast, mice treated with a Notch ligand Jagged peptide showed significantly enhanced wound healing compared to controls. Activation or inhibition of Notch signaling altered the behaviors of cultured vascular endothelial cells, keratinocytes and fibroblasts in a scratch wound healing model in ways consistent with roles for Notch signaling in wound healing functions all three cell types. These results suggest that Notch signaling plays important roles in wound healing and tissue repair, and that targeting the Notch pathway might provide a novel strategy for treatment of wounds and for modulation of angiogenesis in other pathological conditions
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