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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2016 Jan;137(1):58e-66e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000001949.

Cell-Assisted Skin Grafting: Improving Texture and Elasticity of Skin Grafts through Autologous Cell Transplantation.

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Shanghai, China From the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine.



Full-thickness skin grafts are widely used in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Their poor textural durability and associated contracture make them less desirable than skin flaps. Currently, stromal vascular fraction cells hold great promise because of their angiogenic potential, which may ameliorate the hypoxic period after skin grafting. In this study, autologous transplantation of stromal vascular fraction cells was used in combination with skin grafts to determine whether it improved the texture and other physical property of skin grafts.


Stromal vascular fraction cells were isolated and injected under full-thickness skin grafts in a cohort of 20 rats; a second cohort of 20 rats served as controls. Skin grafts were harvested and analyzed on days 14, 30, and 90 after injections. Bioluminescent imaging with luciferase-stromal vascular fraction cells was used for cell tracing. Contracture ratios, elasticity modulus, and the stiffness of each graft were evaluated. Angiogenesis was evaluated using immunohistochemical techniques against vascular endothelial growth factor. Blood flow signals of the graft were also measured, and expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, hepatocyte growth factor, and basic fibroblast growth factor was assessed in all grafts.


Stromal vascular fraction cells markedly decreased the contracture of skin grafts and improved their resilience and elasticity after 1 month. Histologically, the cells enhanced skin thickness and skin vascularization. Moreover, expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor, and hepatocyte growth factor also increased in the stromal vascular fraction group.


Autologous stromal vascular fraction cell transplantation enhances angiogenesis after skin grafting and improves the texture and elasticity of skin grafts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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