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Development of microfabricated dermal epidermal regenerative matrices to evaluate the role of cellular microenvironments on epidermal morphogenesis

Development of microfabricated dermal epidermal regenerative matrices to evaluate the role of cellular microenvironments on epidermal morphogenesis

Tissue Engineering. Part a 18(21-22): 2343-2353

Topographic features at the dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ) provide instructive cues critical for modulating keratinocyte functions and enhancing the overall architecture and organization of skin. This interdigitated interface conforms to a series of rete ridges and papillary projections on the dermis that provides three-dimensional (3D) cellular microenvironments as well as structural stability between the dermal and epidermal layers during mechanical loading. The dimensions of these cellular microenvironments exhibit regional differences on the surface of the body, and quantitative histological analyses have shown that localization of highly proliferative keratinocytes also varies, according to the regional geometries of these microenvironments. In this study, we combined photolithography, collagen processing, and biochemical conjugation techniques to create microfabricated dermal epidermal regeneration matrices (μDERMs) with features that mimic the native 3D cellular microenvironment at the DEJ. We used this model system to study the effect of the 3D cellular microenvironment on epithelialization and basal keratinocyte interaction with the microenvironment on the surface of the μDERMs. We found that features closely mimicking those in high-friction areas of the body (deep, narrow channels) epithelialized faster than features mimicking low-friction areas. Additionally, when evaluating β1 expression, an integrin involved in epidermal morphogenesis, it was found that integrin-bright expression was localized in the depths of the features, suggesting that the μDERMs may play a role in defining cellular microenvironments as well as a protective environment for the regenerative population of keratinocytes. The outcomes of this study suggest that μDERMs can serve as a robust biomimetic model system to evaluate the roles of the 3D microenvironment on enhancing the regenerative capacity and structural stability of bioengineered skin substitutes.

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Accession: 052562140

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PMID: 22724677

DOI: 10.1089/ten.tea.2011.0479

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