This study aimed to investigate the ability of an autologous cultured composite skin (CCS) to close similar biodegradable temporizing matrix (BTM)-integrated wounds, and its effectiveness in healing fresh full-thickness wounds after the failure of cultured epithelial autograft in its two forms (sheets and suspensions) to epithelialize over an integrated polymer BTM. Using a porcine model, autologous split-skin grafts were harvested three of four dorsal 8 × 8 cm treatment sites. These three sites were subsequently converted to full-thickness wounds and BTMs were implanted. The grafts were used to produce autologous CCSs for each pig. These consisted of a 1 mm thick biodegradable polymer foam scaffold into which fibroblasts and keratinocytes harvested from the grafts were cocultured. At Day 28, on each animal, the autologous CCSs were applied to two of the integrated BTMs, an autologous split-skin graft was applied to the third integrated BTM, and one CCS was applied immediately into a fresh, “naked” (no BTM applied) wound. The CCSs were capable of generating a bilayer repair over the naked wound’s fat base and BTM-integrated wounds, which consisted of dermal elements and a keratinized stratified squamous epidermis anchored with a basement membrane by day 7. The CCSs behaved in different ways: either as a delivery vehicle allowing similar development of a bilayer repair while the polymer foam was shed from the wound, or generating a bilayer repair with the foam scaffold being retained (composite “take”). These results conclude our porcine program and provide proof of concept that the integrated BTM can be closed with an autologous CCS. Once fully optimized, this may provide robust repair without resorting to the split-skin graft, important in those cases where unburned donor site is unavailable.
From the *Skin Engineering Laboratory, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia; †Medical School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia; ‡Adult Burn Center, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia.
Address correspondence to John E. Greenwood, AM, Director, Adult Burn Service, Royal Adelaide Hospital, North Terrace, Adelaide 5000, South Australia, Australia.