Topical application of dexpanthenol is widely used in clinical practice for the improvement of wound healing. Previous in vitro experiments identified a stimulatory effect of pantothenate on migration, proliferation and gene regulation in cultured human dermal fibroblasts. To correlate these in vitro findings with the more complex in vivo situation of wound healing, a clinical trial was performed in which the dexpanthenol-induced gene expression profile in punch biopsies of previously injured and dexpanthenol-treated skin in comparison to placebo-treated skin was analyzed at the molecular level by Affymetrix® GeneChip analysis. Upregulation of IL-6, IL-1β, CYP1B1, CXCL1, CCL18 and KAP 4–2 gene expression and downregulation of psorasin mRNA and protein expression were identified in samples treated topically with dexpanthenol. This in vivo study might provide new insight into the molecular mechanisms responsible for the effect of dexpanthenol in wound healing and shows strong correlations to previous in vitro data using cultured dermal fibroblasts.

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