Melanocyte repopulation in full-thickness wounds using a cell spray apparatus

J Burn Care Rehabil. 2001 Jan-Feb;22(1):41-6. doi: 10.1097/00004630-200101000-00009.


Melanocyte restoration is critical in reconstituting skin color. We developed a spotted (piebald) pig wound model to study methods of restoring melanocytes to the epidermis. Paired, full-thickness, porcine wounds were covered with nonpigmented, fully expanded, 3:1 meshed, split-thickness skin grafts and were sprayed with an epidermal cell suspension. The suspensions were highly pigmented skin (HPS) cell isolates for half of the wounds (n = 16) and nonpigmented skin (NPS) cell isolates for the remaining wounds (n = 16). Histologic sections showed 6.0 +/- 3.0 and 15 +/- 4.0 pigmented melanocytes per high-power field on days 8 and 20 in HPS-treated wounds and no pigmented melanocytes in NPS-treated wounds. Melanin pigment was dispersed in all layers of the epithelium for the HPS group on day 20 compared with a lack of melanin pigment observed in the NPS group. Cell spraying may provide a clinical method to restore color to skin; further work is needed to control the expression of melanin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epithelium / pathology*
  • Hypopigmentation / prevention & control*
  • Melanins / biosynthesis*
  • Melanocytes / transplantation*
  • Reference Values
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin Transplantation / methods*
  • Swine
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery*


  • Melanins