We used minced, autologous skin for neoepithelialization of surgically created subcutaneous tunnels in a large animal model. Partial-thickness skin grafts were harvested from the back region of five 50-60kg Yorkshire pigs. The skin was minced to 0.8× 0.8× 0.3mm particles. Silicone-latex tubes were covered with fibrin, rolled in minced skin, and placed in subcutaneous tunnels created in the abdominal area. For comparison, single cell suspensions of keratinocytes and fibroblasts in fibrin or fibrin only were transplanted on tubes. Tunnels were extracted after 14, 21, and 28 days for microscopic evaluation. All tubes transplanted with minced skin particles showed neoepithelialization. The epithelium was stratified and differentiated after 2 weeks in vivo, and the stratum corneum was directed toward the implanted tube. No epithelium formed from tubes transplanted with single cell suspensions, and only sparse keratinocytes could be detected by serial sectioning and immunostaining on day 14, but not later. No epithelial lining was found in tunnels with fibrin-only-coated tubes. Epithelial cysts could be found the first 2 weeks after transplantation in the minced skin group but not later. In conclusion, a minced skin technique could serve as a potential source for tissue engineering of tubular conduits for reconstructive purposes of the urethra and for cutaneous stomas for bladder catheterization, or intestinal irrigations. The method would have the advantage of being simple and expeditious and not requiring in vitro culturing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering