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Restoration of the transepithelial potential within tissue-engineered human skin in vitro and during the wound healing process in vivo

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Mary Ann Liebert
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Structures organisationnelles
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Normal human epidermis possesses a transepithelial potential (TEP) that varies in different parts of the body (10–60 mV). The role of TEP in normal epidermis is not yet identified; but after skin injury, TEP disruption induces an endogenous direct current electric field (100–200 mV/mm) directed toward the middle of the wound. This endogenous electric field could be implicated in the wound healing process by attracting cells, thus facilitating reepithelialization. However, little is known on the restoration of the TEP during human skin formation and wound healing. In this study, the variations in TEP and Na+/K+ ATPase pump expression during the formation of the epithelium were investigated in vitro using human tissue-engineered human skin (TES) reconstituted by tissue engineering and in vivo with a porcine wound healing model. Results showed that TEP undergoes ascending and decreasing phases during epithelium formation in TES as well as during wound repair within TES. Similar results were observed during in vivo reepithelialization of wounds. The ascending and decreasing TEP values were correlated with changes in the expression of Na+/K+ ATPase pump. The distribution of Na+/K+ ATPase pumps also varied according to epidermal differentiation. Taken together, these results suggest that the variations in the expression of Na+/K+ ATPase pump over time and across epidermis would be a determinant parameter of the TEP, dictating a cationic transport during the formation and restoration of the epidermis. Therefore, this study brings a new perspective to understand the formation and restoration of TEP during the cutaneous wound healing process. This might have important future medical applications regarding the treatment of chronic wound healing.
Tissue engineering. Part A, Vol. 16 (10), 3055-3063 (2010)
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article de recherche