Background: Fibroblast-seeded collagen sponges have been used for the treatment of skin defects and skin ulcers. However, the viability of the fibroblasts after implantation is still unknown. The objective of this study was to investigate the viability and distribution of autologous and allogeneic fibroblasts after implantation and to clarify which type is more effective for wound healing.
Materials and methods: Skin samples of Hartley guinea pigs were retrieved and autologous fibroblasts were isolated and cultured. Fibroblasts isolated from the skin of a Strain2 guinea pig were used as allogeneic fibroblasts. Three full-thickness wounds were created on the backs of guinea pigs and an acellular collagen sponge, a collagen sponge seeded with autologous fibroblasts, and a collagen sponge seeded with allogeneic fibroblasts were transplanted. Before implantation, fibroblasts were labeled with PKH26. The guinea pigs were sacrificed 1, 2, and 3 weeks after implantation. The epithelization and contraction of the wounds were assessed, and the viability and distribution of the seeded fibroblasts were observed in cross sections.
Results: Three weeks after implantation, the PKH26-labeled autologous and allogeneic fibroblasts remained viable. In the wounds covered with the autologous fibroblast-seeded collagen sponge, the epithelization was fastest, and the percent wound contraction was smallest. In contrast, in the wounds covered with allogeneic fibroblasts, the epithelization was slowest and the percent contraction was largest.
Conclusion: The allogeneic fibroblasts seeded in the collagen sponge survived and remained viable on the grafted area, but did not accelerate wound healing.