Induction of angiogenic and inflammation-associated dermal biomarkers following acute UVB exposure on bio-engineered pigmented dermo-epidermal skin substitutes in vivo

Pediatr Surg Int. 2019 Jan;35(1):129-136. doi: 10.1007/s00383-018-4384-4. Epub 2018 Nov 14.


Purpose: Ultraviolet (UV) radiation adversely affects skin health at cellular and molecular levels. Hence, UV radiation can directly induce inflammatory responses in the dermis by inducing erythema, edema, inflammation, dermal fibroblasts alterations, and extracellular matrix modifications.

Methods: Human keratinocytes, melanocytes, and fibroblasts were isolated from skin biopsies, cultured, and expanded in vitro. Fibroblasts were seeded into collagen type I hydrogels that were subsequently covered by keratinocytes and melanocytes. These pigmented dermo-epidermal skin substitutes (pigmDESS) were transplanted for 5 weeks onto full-thickness skin wounds on the back of immuno-incompetent rats, exposed to a single UVB dose of 250 mJ/cm2 or unexposed and excised after 1 week. The effects onto the dermis were assessed regarding cell number, cell phenotype, and cell proliferation. Local inflammation by granulocytes (HIS48) or macrophages (CD11b, iNOS) was analyzed by immunohistochemistry staining.

Results: We observed a significantly enhanced ingrowth rate of blood capillaries, but not of lymphatic capillaries at 1 week post-irradiation. Moreover, the enhanced vascularization of pigmDESS after UVB exposure was concomitant with a high infiltration of granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages to the dermal part of grafts. In addition, a heterogeneous expression of HIF-1α and TNFα was detected at this early phase after UVB exposure. In local cellular response examination, results only show a moderate cell proliferation in the dermis.

Conclusions: We were able to define early markers of UVB-induced effects in the dermis of pigmDESS. Overall, a single UVB dose induces temporary acute angiogenic and immune responses during the early post-irradiation phase in vivo.

Keywords: Acute UVB; Blood- and lymph-angiogenesis; Granulocyte infiltration; HIF-1α expression; Human skin substitute; Inflammatory response; Monocyte/macrophage recruitment; Tissue engineering.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Biopsy
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen Type I / metabolism*
  • Dermis / metabolism
  • Dermis / radiation effects
  • Dermis / transplantation*
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Epidermis / radiation effects
  • Epidermis / transplantation
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Macrophages / radiation effects
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Skin Transplantation / methods*
  • Skin, Artificial*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Biomarkers
  • Collagen Type I
  • NOS2 protein, human
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II