IFATS collection: Human adipose-derived stem cells seeded on a silk fibroin-chitosan scaffold enhance wound repair in a murine soft tissue injury model

Stem Cells. 2009 Jan;27(1):250-8. doi: 10.1634/stemcells.2008-0178.


Soft tissue loss presents an ongoing challenge in reconstructive surgery. Local stem cell application has recently been suggested as a possible novel therapy. In the present study we evaluated the potential of a silk fibroin-chitosan (SFCS) scaffold serving as a delivery vehicle for human adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) in a murine soft tissue injury model. Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labeled ASCs were seeded on SFCS scaffolds at a density of 1 x 10(5) ASCs per cm(2) for 48 hours and then suture-inlaid to a 6-mm, full-thickness skin defect in 6-week-old male athymic mice. Wound healing was tracked for 2 weeks by planimetry. Histology was evaluated at 2 and 4 weeks. Our data show that the extent of wound closure was significantly enhanced in the ASC-SFCS group versus SFCS and no-graft controls at postoperative day 8 (90% +/- 3% closure vs. 75% +/- 11% and 55% +/- 17%, respectively). Microvessel density at wound bed biopsy sites from 2 weeks postoperative was significantly higher in the ASC-SFCS group versus SFCS alone (7.5 +/- 1.1 vs. 5.1 +/- 1.0 vessels per high-power field). Engrafted stem cells were positive for the fibroblastic marker heat shock protein 47, smooth muscle actin, and von Willebrand factor at both 2 and 4 weeks. GFP-positive stem cells were also found to differentiate into epidermal epithelial cells at 4 weeks postoperative. In conclusion, human adipose-derived stem cells seeded on a silk fibroin-chitosan scaffold enhance wound healing and show differentiation into fibrovascular, endothelial, and epithelial components of restored tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Biopsy
  • Chitosan / metabolism
  • Dermatologic Surgical Procedures
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibroins / metabolism*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Mice
  • Regeneration
  • Silk / metabolism*
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Tissue Scaffolds*
  • Wound Healing*


  • Silk
  • Fibroins
  • Chitosan