In vitro characterization of an artificial dermal scaffold

Tissue Eng. 2001 Aug;7(4):457-72. doi: 10.1089/10763270152436508.


The treatment of extensive burn injuries has been enhanced by the development of artificial skin substitutes. Integra Artificial Skin, an acellular collagen-glycosaminoglycan (C-GAG) dermal equivalent requires a two-stage grafting procedure. However, preseeding the C-GAG dermal equivalent with cultured fibroblasts and keratinocytes, with the aim of performing a single-stage grafting procedure, may be beneficial in terms of replacing the requirement for traditional split-skin grafts. In this comparative in vitro study, the interactions of cultured human dermal fibroblasts and epidermal keratinocytes in Integra Artificial Skin in comparison to cadaver deepidermalized dermis (DED) was investigated. An increase in cell proliferation and migration in the C-GAG dermal equivalent was observed over time. Cocultures of fibroblasts and keratinocytes on both dermal equivalents showed positive expression of proliferation, differentiation, and extracellular matrix (ECM) protein markers. Organization of keratinocytes in the epidermal layers of DED composites were better compared to the C-GAG composites. Deposition of ECM proteins was enhanced in the presence of keratinocytes in both dermal equivalents. Results demonstrate that in vitro the C-GAG dermal equivalent is biocompatible for cell attachment, migration, proliferation, and differentiation. Preseeding Integra Artificial Skin with cultured autologous fibroblasts and keratinocytes for in vivo application, as a single-stage grafting procedure, warrants testing. A better clinical outcome may be achieved as shown by our in vitro results of the coculture composites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Organs*
  • Humans
  • Skin Transplantation*
  • Skin*
  • Tissue Engineering