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A denatured collagen microfiber scaffold seeded with human fibroblasts and keratinocytes for skin grafting

Kempf, Margit, Miyamura, Yuki, Liu, Pei-Yun, Chen, Alice C.-H., Nakamura, Hideki, Shimizu, Hiroshi, Tabata, Yasuhiko, Kimble, Roy M., McMillan, James R.
Biomaterials 2011 v.32 no.21 pp. 4782-4792
adhesion, adsorption, biocompatibility, biodegradation, blood proteins, cattle, coculture, collagen, desmosomes, encapsulation, fibroblasts, humans, immune response, islands, keratinocytes, mice, polymers, severe combined immunodeficiency, skin grafting, transmission electron microscopy
Biomaterial scaffolds are categorized into artificial or natural polymers, or combinations of the two. Artificial polymers often undergo serum protein adsorption, elicit foreign body and encapsulation immune responses post-implantation. Large pore bovine electrospun collagen I was therefore screened as a candidate for human keratinocyte and fibroblast cell scaffolds. Human HaCaT keratinocyte and dermal fibroblasts were seeded on electrospun denatured collagen I microfiber (DCM) scaffolds and after 72 h Livedead® assays performed to determine adhesive cell, survival and scaffold penetration. Both keratinocytes and fibroblasts attached to and survived on DCM scaffolds, however only fibroblasts migrated over and into this biomaterial. HaCaT keratinocytes remained largely stationary on the scaffold surface in discrete islands of monolayered cells. For this reason, normal human epidermal keratinocyte (NHEK) scaffold interactions were assessed using scanning and transmission electron microscopy (EM) that demonstrated DCM scaffolds comprised networks of interlocking and protruding collagen fibers with a mean diameter of 2–5 μm, with a mean inter-fiber pore size of 6.7 μm (range 3–10 μm) and scaffold thickness 50–70 μm. After 72 h the keratinocytes and fibroblasts on DCM scaffolds had attached, flattened and spread over the entire scaffold with assembly of lamellapodia and focal adhesion (FA)-like junctions. Using transmission EM, NHEKs and HaCaT keratinocytes assembled desmosomes, lamellapodia and FA junctions, however, neither hemidesmosomes nor basal lamina were present. In long term (21 day) co-culture fibroblasts migrated throughout the scaffold and primary keratinocytes (and to a lesser extend HaCaTs) stratified on the scaffold surface forming a human skin equivalent (HSE). In vivo testing of these HSEs on immunocompetent (BalbC) and immunodeficient (SCID) excisionally wounded model mice demonstrated scaffold wound biocompatibility and ability to deliver human cells after scaffold biodegradation.