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J Burn Care Res. 2013 Jan-Feb;34(1):18-30. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e3182642c0e.

Bilayer hydrogel with autologous stem cells derived from debrided human burn skin for improved skin regeneration.

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Department of Extremity Trauma Research and Regenerative Medicine, United States Army Institute of Surgical Research, Fort Sam Houston, Texas 78234, USA.


The objective of this study was to demonstrate that stem cells isolated from discarded skin obtained after debridement can be used with collagen and fibrin-based scaffolds to develop a tissue-engineered vascularized dermal equivalent. Discarded tissue samples were collected from severely burned patients undergoing wound debridement. Stem cells were isolated from the adipose tissue layer and their growth and immunophenotype characterized. To develop a skin equivalent, debrided skin adipose stem cells (dsASCs) were added to a collagen-polyethylene glycol (PEG) fibrin-based bilayer hydrogel and analyzed in vitro. The effect of the bilayered hydrogels on wound healing was demonstrated using an excision wound model in athymic rats. The dsASCs isolated from all samples were CD90, CD105, and stromal cell surface protein-1 positive, similar to adipose stem cells isolated from normal human lipoaspirates. Within the bilayer hydrogels, dsASCs proliferated and differentiated, maintained a spindle-shaped morphology in collagen, and developed a tubular microvascular network in the PEGylated fibrin. Rat excision wounds treated with bilayer hydrogels showed less wound contraction and exhibited better dermal matrix deposition and epithelial margin progression than controls. Stem cells can be isolated from the adipose layer of burned skin obtained during debridement. When dsASCs are incorporated within collagen-PEGylated fibrin bilayer hydrogels, they develop stromal and vascular phenotypes through matrix-directed differentiation without use of growth factors. Preliminary in vivo studies indicate that dsASC-bilayer hydrogels contribute significantly to wound healing and provide support for their use as a vascularized dermal substitute for skin regeneration to treat large surface area burns.

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