Epidermal T cells have been shown to play unique roles in tissue homeostasis and repair in mice through local secretion of distinct growth factors in the skin. Human epidermis contains both alphabeta(+) and gammadelta(+) T cells whose functional capabilities are not understood. We demonstrate that human epidermal T cells are able to produce insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) upon activation and promote wound healing in a skin organ culture model. Moreover, an analysis of the functional capabilities of T cells isolated from acute versus chronic wounds revealed a striking difference. Both alphabeta(+) and Vdelta1(+) T cells isolated from acute wounds actively produced IGF-1, demonstrating that they are activated during tissue damage to participate in wound repair. In contrast, IGF-1 production could not be detected in T cells isolated from chronic wounds. In fact, skin T cells isolated from chronic wounds were refractory to further stimulation, suggesting an unresponsive state. Collectively, these results define a novel role for human epidermis-resident T cells in wound healing and provide new insight into our understanding of chronic wound persistence.