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Tissue engineered skin substitutes created by laser-assisted bioprinting form skin-like structures in the dorsal skin fold chamber in mice.

PloS one (2013-03-08)
Stefanie Michael, Heiko Sorg, Claas-Tido Peck, Lothar Koch, Andrea Deiwick, Boris Chichkov, Peter M Vogt, Kerstin Reimers
ABSTRACT

Tissue engineering plays an important role in the production of skin equivalents for the therapy of chronic and especially burn wounds. Actually, there exists no (cellularized) skin equivalent which might be able to satisfactorily mimic native skin. Here, we utilized a laser-assisted bioprinting (LaBP) technique to create a fully cellularized skin substitute. The unique feature of LaBP is the possibility to position different cell types in an exact three-dimensional (3D) spatial pattern. For the creation of the skin substitutes, we positioned fibroblasts and keratinocytes on top of a stabilizing matrix (Matriderm®). These skin constructs were subsequently tested in vivo, employing the dorsal skin fold chamber in nude mice. The transplants were placed into full-thickness skin wounds and were fully connected to the surrounding tissue when explanted after 11 days. The printed keratinocytes formed a multi-layered epidermis with beginning differentiation and stratum corneum. Proliferation of the keratinocytes was mainly detected in the suprabasal layers. In vitro controls, which were cultivated at the air-liquid-interface, also exhibited proliferative cells, but they were rather located in the whole epidermis. E-cadherin as a hint for adherens junctions and therefore tissue formation could be found in the epidermis in vivo as well as in vitro. In both conditions, the printed fibroblasts partly stayed on top of the underlying Matriderm® where they produced collagen, while part of them migrated into the Matriderm®. In the mice, some blood vessels could be found to grow from the wound bed and the wound edges in direction of the printed cells. In conclusion, we could show the successful 3D printing of a cell construct via LaBP and the subsequent tissue formation in vivo. These findings represent the prerequisite for the creation of a complex tissue like skin, consisting of different cell types in an intricate 3D pattern.

MATERIALS
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