A simplified fabrication technique for cellularized high-collagen dermal equivalents

Biomed Mater. 2019 Apr 29;14(4):041001. doi: 10.1088/1748-605X/ab09c5.


Human autologous bioengineered skin has been successfully developed and used to treat skin injuries in a growing number of cases. In current clinical studies, the biomaterial used is fabricated via plastic compression of collagen hydrogel to increase the density and stability of the tissue. To further facilitate clinical adoption of bioengineered skin, the fabrication technique needs to be improved in terms of standardization and automation. Here, we present a one-step mixing technique using highly concentrated collagen and human fibroblasts to simplify fabrication of stable dermal equivalents. As controls, we prepared cellularized dermal equivalents with three varying collagen compositions. We found that the dermal equivalents produced using the simplified mixing technique were stable and pliable, showed viable fibroblast distribution throughout the tissue, and were comparable to highly concentrated manually produced collagen gels. Because no subsequent plastic compression of collagen is required in the simplified mixing technique, the fabrication steps and production time for dermal equivalents are consistently reduced. The present study provides a basis for further investigations to optimize the technique, which has significant promise in enabling efficient clinical production of bioengineered skin in the future.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Survival
  • Child
  • Collagen / physiology*
  • Dermis / physiology*
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Foreskin / cytology
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Male
  • Skin, Artificial*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Gels
  • Collagen