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Mol Ther. 2004 Jul;10(1):76-85.

FGF-7 expression enhances the performance of bioengineered skin.

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  • 1Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and Shriners Hospital for Children, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


To improve the performance of bioengineered skin, we used a recombinant retrovirus encoding FGF-7 to modify diploid human keratinocytes genetically. Control or FGF-7-expressing keratinocytes were seeded onto acellular human dermis to form bioengineered skin. Gene-modified skin secreted significant levels of FGF-7 and formed a thicker and hyperproliferative epidermis with about four times the number of cells per square centimeter. Secretion of an endogenous trophic factor, VEGF, was increased approximately 5-fold. Migration of FGF-7-expressing keratinocytes was stimulated as was the self-healing of bioengineered skin expressing FGF-7. When tested in a bacterial infection model, the antimicrobial properties of FGF-7-expressing skin were increased >500-fold against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. After transplantation to full-thickness wounds on athymic mice, skin expressing FGF-7 was revascularized more rapidly. These results demonstrate that genetic modification can be used to enhance performance and that expression of FGF-7 augments several properties important to the wound-healing properties of bioengineered skin.

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