Use of peracetic acid to sterilize human donor skin for production of acellular dermal matrices for clinical use

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Abstract

We previously reported methods for sterilizng human skin for clinical use. In a comparison of γ-irradiation, glycerol, and ethylene oxide, sterilization with ethylene oxide after treatment with glycerol provided the most satisfactory dermis in terms of structure and its ability to produce reconstructed skin with many of the characteristics of normal skin. However, the use of ethylene oxide is becoming less common in the United Kingdom due to concerns about its possible genotoxicity. The aim of this study was to evaluate peracetic acid as an alternative sterilizing agent. Skin sterilized with peracetic acid was compared with skin sterilized using glycerol alone or glycerol with ethylene oxide. The effect of subsequently storing peracetic acid sterilized skin in glycerol or propylene glycol was also examined. Acellular dermal matrices were produced after removal of the epidermis and cells in the dermis, processed for histological and ultrastructural analysis, and the biological function was evaluated by reconstitution with keratinocytes and fibroblasts. Results showed that sterilized acellular matrices retained the integrity of dermal structure and major components of the basement membrane. There were no overall significant differences in the ability of these matrices to form reconstructed skin, but peracetic acid alone gave a lower histologic score than when combined with glycerol or propylene glycol. We conclude that peracetic acid sterilization followed by preservation in glycerol or propylene glycol offers a convenient alternative protocol for processing of human skin. It is suggested that this sterile acellular dermis may be suitable for clinical use.

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