Basement Membrane Formation during Wound Healing Is Dependent on Epidermal Transplants

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The purpose of the study was to compare directly the effect of healing and the formation of the basement membrane during wound healing from two autologous primary keratinocyte cultures in the liquid environment in fullthickness wounds in pigs. Wounds were either transplanted with cultured epidermal autografts (n = 26) or autologous keratinocyte suspensions (n = 24) or treated with saline alone (n = 40) and covered with a chamber. All wounds transplanted with cultured epidermal autografts and keratinocyte cell suspensions had positive “take” after transplantation. Healing times were significantly shorter for wounds treated with either cultured epidermal autografts or keratinocyte suspensions (p = 0.0001) compared with saline-treated wounds but were not different from each other (p = 0.1835). There were no differences in cytokeratin and laminin expression; however, staining with monoclonal antibody against collagen type VII showed a lower signal for cultured epidermal autografts only on days 8 and 16 compared with keratinocyte suspensions. Electron microscope evaluation showed a higher incidence of anchoring fibrils and a more mature dermal-epidermal junction in wounds treated with keratinocyte cell suspensions at day 8. These findings may be due to the single, noncontact-inhibited cells and the early formation of an in vivo neodermis to the wet wound environment. These data suggest that wounds transplanted with autologous keratinocyte suspensions in a wet environment may be an alternative method in the treatment of wounds. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 107: 97, 2001.)

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