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Burns. 2012 Aug;38(5):702-12. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2011.12.014. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

A potential skin substitute constructed with hEGF gene modified HaCaT cells for treatment of burn wounds in a rat model.

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Department of Burns and Cutaneous Surgery, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an 710032, China.


This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of using an immortal keratinocyte cell line, HaCaT cells, to effectively deliver epidermal growth factor (EGF) in a skin substitute to treat burn wounds. The skin equivalent was constructed with human EGF (hEGF) gene modified HaCaT cells obtained through stable gene transfection; these were applied to full thickness burn wounds in a rat model. The results showed that the hEGF gene modified HaCaT cells produced more than 390ng/l of bioactive hEGF in the culture supernatant. K19 and integrin-β1 as keratinocyte differentiation markers were elevated in the hEGF gene modified HaCaT cells which were shown to be non-tumorigenic. The skin equivalent constructed with hEGF gene modified HaCaT cells demonstrated improved epidermal morphogenesis with a thick and compact epidermis. Wound healing was accelerated noticeably when applied with this skin substitute seeded with hEGF gene modified HaCaT cells in vivo. The results suggest that HaCaT cells modified with hEGF gene might be promising seed cells for construction of genetically modified skin substitute which can effectively secrete hEGF to accelerate wound repair and regeneration.

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