IFATS collection: Using human adipose-derived stem/stromal cells for the production of new skin substitutes

Valérie Trottier, Guillaume Marceau-Fortier, Lucie Germain, Caroline Vincent, Julie Fradette
Stem Cells 2008, 26 (10): 2713-23
The ability to harvest and culture stem cell populations from various human postnatal tissues is central to regenerative medicine applications, including tissue engineering. The discovery of multipotent mesenchymal stem cells within the stromal fraction of adipose tissue prompted their use for the healing and reconstruction of many tissues. Here, we examined the influence of adipose-derived stem/stromal cells (ASCs) on skin's regenerative processes, from a tissue engineering perspective. Using a self-assembly approach, human skin substitutes were produced. They featured a stromal compartment containing human extracellular matrix endogenously produced from either dermal fibroblasts or adipose-derived stem/stromal cells differentiated or not toward the adipogenic lineage. Human keratinocytes were seeded on each stroma and cultured at the air-liquid interface to reconstruct a bilayered skin substitute. These new skin substitutes, containing an epidermis and a distinctive stroma devoid of synthetic biomaterial, displayed characteristics similar to human skin. The influence of the type of stromal compartment on epidermal morphogenesis was assessed by the evaluation of tissue histology, the expression of key protein markers of the epidermal differentiation program (keratin [K] 14, K10, transglutaminase), the expression of dermo-epidermal junction components (laminins, collagen VII), and the presence of basement membrane and hemidesmosomes. Our findings suggest that adipose-derived stem/stromal cells could usefully substitute dermal fibroblasts for skin reconstruction using the self-assembly method. Finally, by exploiting the adipogenic potential of ASCs, we also produced a more complete trilayered skin substitute consisting of the epidermis, the dermis, and the adipocyte-containing hypodermis, the skin's deepest layer. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.

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