Pre-selection of fibroblasts subsets prompt prevascularization of tissue engineered skin analogues

last updated: 2023-10-03
ProjectECM_INK :: publications list
TitlePre-selection of fibroblasts subsets prompt prevascularization of tissue engineered skin analogues
Publication TypePapers in Scientific Journals
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsMoreira H. R., Cerqueira M. T., da Silva L. P., Pires J., Jarnalo M., Horta R., Reis R. L., and Marques A. P.

The papillary and reticular dermis harbors phenotypically distinct fibroblasts, whose functions such as maintenance of skin's microvasculature are also distinct. Thus, we hypothesized that pre-selection of the subpopulations of fibroblasts would benefit the generation of skin tissue engineered (TE) constructs, promoting their prevascularization in vitro. We first isolated papillary and reticular fibroblasts using fluorescence-activated cell sorting and studied the effect of their secretome and extracellular matrix (ECM) on human dermal microvascular endothelial cell (hDMEC) organization. Subsequently, we developed a bilayered 3D polymeric structure with distinct layer-associated features to house the subpopulations of fibroblasts, to generate a skin analogue. Both papillary and reticular fibroblasts were able to stimulate capillary-like network formation in a Matrigel assay. However, the secretome of the two subpopulations was substantially different, being enriched in VEGF, IGF-1, and Angio-1 in the case of papillary fibroblasts and in HGF and FGF-2 for the reticular subset. In addition, the fibroblast subpopulations deposited varied levels of ECM proteins, more collagen I and laminin was produced by the reticular subset, but these differences did not impact hDMEC organization. Vessel-like structures with lumens were observed earlier in the 3D skin analogue prepared with the sorted fibroblasts, although ECM deposition was not affected by the cell's pre-selection. Moreover, a more differentiated epidermal layer was obtained in the skin analogue formed by the sorted fibroblasts, confirming that its whole structure was not affected. Overall, we provide evidence that pre-selection of papillary and reticular fibroblasts is relevant for promoting the in vitro prevascularization of skin TE constructs.

JournalBiomaterials Science
Date Published2023-05-31
PublisherRoyal Society of Chemistry
Keywordsin vitro models, papillary fibroblasts, reticular fibroblasts, skin, vascularization
Peer reviewedyes

Back to top