Topical nutrients promote engraftment and inhibit wound contraction of cultured skin substitutes in athymic mice

S. T. Boyce, A. P. Supp, M. D. Harriger, David G Greenhalgh, G. D. Warden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Routine treatment of burns with cultured skin substitutes (CSS) has been limited by poor engraftment and by scarring. Hypothetically, topical application of essential nutrients and/or growth factors may support epithelial survival temporarily during graft vascularization. CSS, composed of human epidermal keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts attached to collagen-glycosaminoglycan substrates, were incubated for 19 d in media optimized for keratinocytes. CSS, human xenografts, murine autografts, or no grafts were applied orthotopically to full-thickness skin wounds (2 x 2 cm) in athymic mice. Wounds were irrigated for 14 d with 1 ml/d modified cell culture medium or with saline containing epidermal growth factor, or were treated with dry dressings. After 6 weeks, treated sites were scored for percentage original wound area (mean ± SEM) and percentage HLA-ABC-positive healed wounds [(number positive/n) x 100], and tested for significance (analysis of variance, p < 0.0001; Tukey test, p < 0.05). The data showed that CSS irrigated with nutrient medium were not statistically different in wound area (67.8 ± 5.1%) from murine autografts (63.3 ± 2.9%) but were statistically larger than human xenograft, no graft, or CSS treated with saline irrigation or dry dressings. HLA-ABC expression was 100% in CSS with nutrient irrigation, 86% in CSS with saline irrigation, 83% in CSS without irrigation, and 75% in xenografts with nutrient irrigation. These findings suggest that availability of essential nutrients supports keratinocyte viability during graft vascularization of CSS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-349
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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