Alteration of skin properties with autologous dermal fibroblasts

Rajesh L. Thangapazham, Thomas N. Darling, Jon Meyerle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Dermal fibroblasts are mesenchymal cells found between the skin epidermis and subcutaneous tissue. They are primarily responsible for synthesizing collagen and glycosaminoglycans; components of extracellular matrix supporting the structural integrity of the skin. Dermal fibroblasts play a pivotal role in cutaneous wound healing and skin repair. Preclinical studies suggest wider applications of dermal fibroblasts ranging from skin based indications to non-skin tissue regeneration in tendon repair. One clinical application for autologous dermal fibroblasts has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) while others are in preclinical development or various stages of regulatory approval. In this context, we outline the role of fibroblasts in wound healing and discuss recent advances and the current development pipeline for cellular therapies using autologous dermal fibroblasts. The microanatomic and phenotypic differences of fibroblasts occupying particular locations within the skin are reviewed, emphasizing the therapeutic relevance of attributes exhibited by subpopulations of fibroblasts. Special focus is provided to fibroblast characteristics that define regional differences in skin, including the thick and hairless skin of the palms and soles as compared to hair-bearing skin. This regional specificity and functional identity of fibroblasts provides another platform for developing regional skin applications such as the induction of hair follicles in bald scalp or alteration of the phenotype of stump skin in amputees to better support their prosthetic devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8407-8427
Number of pages21
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 13 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Acral skin
  • Cellular therapy
  • Dermal fibroblast
  • Dermal papilla
  • Dermal sheath
  • Hair follicle
  • Hair follicle neogenesis
  • Non-volar
  • Regional identity
  • Skin regeneration
  • Volar
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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