SIGNIFICANCE: Skin inevitably heals with the formation of a fibrotic scar. Patients affected by skin fibrosis suffer from long-term psychological and physical burdens. Recent Advances: Since the discovery of fetal scarless skin-wound healing, research has hoped to identify and mimic scarless healing for adult skin. Oral mucosa healing in adults provides the closest example to fetal scarless healing. Injuries to the oral mucosa heal with very minimal scarring. Understanding the mechanisms through which this process occurs may bring us closer to achieving scarless healing in adults.CRITICAL ISSUES: In this review, we summarize the current evidence that illustrates distinct mechanisms involved in oral mucosal healing. We discuss the role of the oral niche in contributing to wound repair. The intrinsic properties of immune cells, fibroblasts, and keratinocytes within the oral mucosa that support regenerative repair are provided. We highlight the contribution of cytokines, growth factors, and chemokine secretion in permitting a scarless mucosal environment. Furthermore, we discuss the role of stem cell-like progenitor populations in the mucosa that may contribute to wound healing. We also provide suggestions for future studies that are needed to achieve scarless healing in adults.FUTURE DIRECTIONS: Many characteristics of the oral mucosa have been shown to contribute to decreased scarring, but the specific mechanism(s) is unclear. Advancing our understanding of oral healing may yield therapeutic therapies that can be used to overcome dermal fibrosis and scarring.
View details for DOI 10.1089/wound.2021.0038
View details for PubMedID 34470520