The Role of Fibroblasts in Dermal Vascularization and Remodeling of Reconstructed Human Skin After Transplantation Onto the Nude Mouse

Transplantation. 1992 Aug;54(2):317-26. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199208000-00023.


The vascularization and the dermal remodeling of two different types of human skin reconstructed "in vitro" and grafted onto the nude mouse were studied. They were composed of human keratinocytes grown either on a human acellular deepidermized dermis (DED), or on a lattice composed of human fibroblasts embedded in bovine type I collagen, a living dermal equivalent (LDE). At different stages after grafting, the transplants were harvested and processed for an immunohistological study with species-specific and non-species-specific antibodies. At one month after grafting, the two types of grafted dermis contained blood vessels whose vascular basement membranes were labeled with a mouse-specific anti-type IV collagen antibody. With an antibody specific for human type IV collagen, a constant labeling of the vascular basement membrane was only observed in the LDE containing fibroblasts. In the DED, a constant association of the mouse endothelial cells with human type IV collagen was observed at early stages after grafting. At later stages, the human type IV collagen progressively disappeared. On the other hand, the dermal-epidermal junction underneath the human epidermis contained human type IV collagen in the two types of reconstructed skin. Labeling with the species-specific antibodies directed against human or murine type I collagen showed that the ratio murine type I collagen versus human type I collagen increased with time, suggesting that the DED is progressively invaded by mouse fibroblasts that produce the mouse collagen. On the other hand, in the LDE, the preexisting bovine type I collagen became progressively undetectable while both human type I collagen and elastic fibers were deposited by numerous human fibroblasts. Mouse type I collagen was not detected. Altogether, these observations made by grafting human skin reconstructed "in vitro" onto the nude mouse should be interesting for evaluating the usefulness of grafting a dermal substrate together with the epidermal sheet in the treatment of burns.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Factor VIII / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / physiology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / transplantation*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Skin / blood supply*
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin Transplantation*
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Factor VIII
  • Collagen