A fasciocutaneous free graft could prove the ideal free tissue graft to prevent contracture following adhesion of the graft to the recipient bed. However, for graft survival, vascular anastomosis involving complicated surgical techniques is necessary. In the present study, we focused on peripheral blood-derived CD133+ cells, including the endothelial progenitor cell fraction. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether locally transplanted CD133+ cells could increase revascularization and improve the quality of free and thick grafted tissue.
On the abdomen of nude rats (F344/N Jcl rnu/rnu), a 5 × 2-cm fasciocutaneous graft was designed, which was grafted on to the back. After operation, rats received local injection of 1 × 105 human CD133+ cells resuspended in 400 μL of phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) (CD133+ group) or the same volume of PBS without cells (control group) (n = 10 in each group).
In the CD133+ group graft perfusion or graft survival was not improved significantly over controls. However, the capillary density increased markedly in the surrounding fascia and the dermis matured at an earlier stage in the CD133+ group.
In this study, we demonstrated that transplanted CD133+ cells induced new blood vessel growth and improved dermis quality. Cell therapy with CD133+ cells is already applied in a clinical setting because autologous cells can be used and therefore these procedures are not hampered by ethical concerns. CD133+ cell transfer therefore has great potential as an adjunct therapy in the realm of microsurgery.