See the web pages of :

Research in this domain has been ongoing in our laboratory for many years now. The in vitro creation of skin that includes the deep dermal layer and the superficial epidermis is made possible through tissue engineering techniques developed and improved here at the LOEX.

Skin substitute reconstruction method:

The procedure essentially uses a collagen gel in which human fibroblasts are seeded to form the dermal equivalent. After several days of maturation, during which the fibroblastic cells secrete the components of the extracellular matrix and transform their environment, epidermal cells suspended in culture medium are spread in a layer on the surface of the dermal substitute.

After this, the epidermal cells proliferate and become organised into a stratified epithelium that reproduces the structure of the skin’s epidermis. This similarity with human skin is even more striking when culture is carried out at the air-liquid interface. This technique involves placing the developing epidermis in contact with the air in order to favour more advanced differentiation.

Figure 1 describes the main steps that lead to the production of a skin equivalent, and Figure 2 describes the system of air-liquid culture.

Skin substitute reconstruction by self-assembly: a biomaterial-free model

This approach also allows the fabrication of a skin substitute containing a dermis and an epidermis, while taking advantage of the intrinsic property of certain types of living cells that, in the right conditions, will organise their own three-dimensional tissues. For example, skin fibroblasts have the capacity to secrete the elements of the extracellular matrix in the presence of ascorbic acid, and will form sheets of matrix material that can be used as supporting connective tissue on which keratinocytes can be cultured (Michel et al., 1999)

Scientific goals:

Cell extraction from native tissues

Animal and human cell culture (primary and immortalised cell lines)