Comparison of cultured and uncultured keratinocytes seeded into a collagen-GAG matrix for skin replacements

Charles E. Butler, Ioannis V. Yannas, C. C. Compton, Christian A. Correia, Dennis P. Orgill

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59 Scopus citations


A well-characterised collagen-glycosaminoglycan (CG) matrix functions as an extracellular matrix analogue (ECMA) of dermis on full-thickness wounds. The epidermis can be reconstituted by seeding autologous uncultured keratinocytes into the matrix prior to grafting. We hypothesised that seeding the CG matrix with keratinocytes cultured to sub-confluence may provide the ECMA with more proliferating keratinocytes than with uncultured keratinocytes. Autologous cells were isolated from split-thickness skin grafts and cultured to sub-confluence. ECMAs were seeded by centrifuging cultured (n = 8) or uncultured (n = 8) autologous keratinocytes into a CG matrix at a density of 100,000 cells/cm2, then applied onto full-thickness wounds on Yorkshire pigs. Gross and histologic observations were made up to 21 days post-grafting. At 14 days, a fully differentiated epidermis was present on all graft sites, but the epidermis of the cultured-cell-seeded matrices was thicker, 180 (19) μm, than the uncultured-cell-seeded matrices, 110 (18) μm. The epidermis of cultured-cell-seeded matrices was acanthotic, containing 14 (4) cell layers, as compared to uncultured-cell-seeded matrices, 9 (1) cell layers. The number of subepithelial keratinocyte cysts/cm cross-section present in the neodermis was also greater in cultured-, 1.35 (0.37), than in uncultured-cell-seeded matrices, 0.47 (0.35). Epidermal confluence on day 14 was 96 (3)% on cultured-cell-seeded grafts and 50 (17)% on uncultured-cell-seeded grafts. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the process of in vitro cell cultivation increases the proportion of dividing cells in preference to differentiated cells. This technology may be useful in reconstruction of specialised bilayer tissues with minimal donor sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-132
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Plastic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Collagen-GAG
  • Keratinocytes
  • Matrix seeding
  • Skin replacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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