The immune system has a crucial role in skin wound healing and the application of specific cell-laden immunomodulating biomaterials emerged as a possible treatment option to drive skin tissue regeneration. Cell-laden tissue-engineered skin substitutes have the ability to activate immune pathways, even in the absence of other immune-stimulating signals. In particular, mesenchymal stem cells with their immunomodulatory properties can create a specific immune microenvironment to reduce inflammation, scarring, and support skin regeneration. This review presents an overview of current wound care techniques including skin tissue engineering and biomaterials as a novel and promising approach. We highlight the plasticity and different roles of immune cells, in particular macrophages during various stages of skin wound healing. These aspects are pivotal to promote the regeneration of nonhealing wounds such as ulcers in diabetic patients. We believe that a better understanding of the intrinsic immunomodulatory features of stem cells in implantable skin substitutes will lead to new translational opportunities. This, in turn, will improve skin tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications.
Keywords: biomaterials; chronic wounds; immunomodulation; intrinsic immune cell signals; regenerative medicine; skin substitutes; skin tissue engineering; wound healing.