Wound Healing from Dermal Grafts Containing CD34+ Cells Is Comparable to Wound Healing with Split-Thickness Skin Micrografts

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Background:Epidermal stem cells present in the skin appendages of the dermis might be crucial in wound healing. In this study, the authors located these cells in the dermis and evaluated their contribution to full-thickness wound healing in a porcine model.Methods:Four sequentially deeper 0.35-mm-thick skin grafts were harvested from the same donor site going down to 1.4 mm in depth (layers 1 through 4). The layers were minced to 0.8 × 0.8 × 0.35-mm micrografts and transplanted (1:2) onto full-thickness porcine wounds. Healing was monitored up to 28 days and biopsy specimens were collected on days 6 and 10. Multiple wound healing parameters were used to assess the quality of healing.Results:The authors’ results showed that wounds transplanted with layer 2 (0.35 to 0.7 mm) and layer 3 (0.7 to 1.05 mm) micrografts demonstrated reepithelialization rates comparable to that of split-thickness skin graft (layer 1, 0.00 to 0.35 mm; split-thickness skin graft) at day 10. At day 28, dermal micrografts (layers 2 and 3) showed quality of healing comparable to that of split-thickness skin grafts (layer 1) in terms of wound contraction and scar elevation index. The amounts of epidermal stem cells [cluster of differentiation (CD) 34+] and basal keratinocytes (KRT14) at each layer were quantified by immunohistochemistry.Conclusions:The analysis showed that layers 2 and 3 contained the most CD34+ cells and layer 1 was the richest in KRT14+ cells. The immunohistochemistry also indicated that, by day 6, CD34+ cells had differentiated into KRT14 cells, which migrated from the grafts and contributed to the reepithelialization of the wound.

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