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Folia Biol (Praha). 1998;44(2):59-66.

Characterization of the differentiated phenotype of an organotypic model of skin derived from human keratinocytes and dried porcine dermis.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Genetics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague.


A number of skin models have been developed, but a simple method for rapidly producing large quantities of differentiated epidermis has been missing. We show the differentiated phenotype of human keratinocytes in organotypic culture arising in vitro by air-exposure of keratinocytes cultured with feeders on dried pig dermis. Keratinocytes were seeded at low density on the dermis covered with irradiated NIH-3T3 feeder cells and after reaching confluence lifted to the air-medium interface. A well differentiated epidermis with distinct basal, spinous, granular and stratum corneum layers was formed within 1 week. In this way, 100 cm2 of the differentiated recombined human/pig skin (D-RHPS) can be obtained from 106 secondary keratinocytes in 14 days. The entire keratinocyte life cycle takes place on the dermal substrate - from single cells to stratified epidermis. The differentiation was characterized using a panel of monoclonal antibodies. Similarly as in the normal skin, keratin 14 was expressed in all cell layers, keratin 10 in suprabasal layers, beta1-integrin and epitopes to antibody LH8 in the basal layer, involucrin and transglutaminase in the granular and horny layer of the epidermis. Keratins 16 and 7/17, which are absent in the normal epidermis, but present suprabasally in the psoriatic one, were expressed strongly in all suprabasal layers and in a subpopulation of basal cells. The keratinocytes can be combined with two other cell types cultured either on the dermal side of the dermis and/or on the bottom of the dish. It appears that this simple skin model can be used in studies of epithelial/mesenchymal interactions and interactions between epidermal cells and infectious agents. It may be particularly useful for the study of human papilloma viruses.

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