A Novel Reticular Dermal Graft Leverages Architectural and Biological Properties to Support Wound Repair

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Abstract

Background:

Acellular dermal matrices (ADMs) are frequently used in reconstructive surgery and as scaffolds to treat chronic wounds. The 3-dimensional architecture and extracellular matrix provide structural and signaling cues for repair and remodeling. However, most ADMs are not uniformly porous, which can lead to heterogeneous host engraftment. In this study, we hypothesized that a novel human reticular ADM (HR-ADM; AlloPatch Pliable, Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, Edison, N.J.) when aseptically processed would have a more open uniform structure with retention of biological components known to facilitate wound healing.

Methods:

The reticular and papillary layers were compared through histology and scanning electron microscopy. Biomechanical properties were assessed through tensile testing. The impact of aseptic processing was evaluated by comparing unprocessed with processed reticular grafts. In vitro cell culture on fibroblasts and endothelial cells were performed to showcase functional cell activities on HR-ADMs.

Results:

Aseptically processed HR-ADMs have an open, interconnected uniform scaffold with preserved collagens, elastin, glycosaminoglycans, and hyaluronic acid. HR-ADMs had significantly lower ultimate tensile strength and Young’s modulus versus the papillary layer, with a higher percentage elongation at break, providing graft flexibility. These preserved biological components facilitated fibroblast and endothelial cell attachment, cell infiltration, and new matrix synthesis (collagen IV, fibronectin, von Willebrand factor), which support granulation and angiogenic activities.

Conclusions:

The novel HR-ADMs provide an open, interconnected scaffold with native dermal mechanical and biological properties. Furthermore, aseptic processing retains key extracellular matrix elements in an organized framework and supports functional activities of fibroblasts and endothelial cells.

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