Evaluation of native and non-native biomaterials for engineering human skin tissue

Carolina Motter Catarino, Katharina Kaiser, Tânia Baltazar, Luiza Motter Catarino, Jonathan R. Brewer, Pankaj Karande*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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A variety of human skin models have been developed for applications in regenerative medicine and efficacy studies. Typically, these employ matrix molecules that are derived from non-human sources along with human cells. Key limitations of such models include a lack of cellular and tissue microenvironment that is representative of human physiology for efficacy studies, as well as the potential for adverse immune responses to animal products for regenerative medicine applications. The use of recombinant extracellular matrix proteins to fabricate tissues can overcome these limitations. We evaluated animal- and non-animal-derived scaffold proteins and glycosaminoglycans for the design of biomaterials for skin reconstruction in vitro. Screening of proteins from the dermal-epidermal junction (collagen IV, laminin 5, and fibronectin) demonstrated that certain protein combinations when used as substrates increase the proliferation and migration of keratinocytes compared to the control (no protein). In the investigation of the effect of components from the dermal layer (collagen types I and III, elastin, hyaluronic acid, and dermatan sulfate), the primary influence on the viability of fibroblasts was attributed to the source of type I collagen (rat tail, human, or bovine) used as scaffold. Furthermore, incorporation of dermatan sulfate in the dermal layer led to a reduction in the contraction of tissues compared to the control where the dermal scaffold was composed primarily of collagen type I. This work highlights the influence of the composition of biomaterials on the development of complex reconstructed skin models that are suitable for clinical translation and in vitro safety assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10297
JournalBioengineering and Translational Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • 3D skin models
  • in vitro models
  • skin grafts
  • tissue engineering


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