Attempts to minimize scarring remain among the most difficult challenges facing surgeons, despite the use of optimal wound closure techniques. Previously, we reported improved healing of dermal excisional wounds in circadian clock neuronal PAS domain 2 (Npas2)-null mice. In this study, we performed high-throughput drug screening to identify a compound that downregulates Npas2 activity. The hit compound (Dwn1) suppressed circadian Npas2 expression, increased murine dermal fibroblast cell migration, and decreased collagen synthesis in vitro. Based on the in vitro results, Dwn1 was topically applied to iatrogenic full-thickness dorsal cutaneous wounds in a murine model. The Dwn1-treated dermal wounds healed faster with favorable mechanical strength and developed less granulation tissue than the controls. The expression of type I collagen, Tgfb1, and a-smooth muscle actin was significantly decreased in Dwn1-treated wounds, suggesting that hypertrophic scarring and myofibroblast differentiation are attenuated by Dwn1 treatment. NPAS2 may represent an important target for therapeutic approaches to optimal surgical wound management.
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