It'll Grow on You: Fully Functional 3D Skin Model

April 8, 2016 | Contact Author | By: Jennifer Novoseletsky
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Hair skin cells

Keywords: iPS cells | burn victims | 3D integumentary organ system | sebaceous glands | hair follicles | skin transplants | new skin

Abstract: Blood, sweat and hairs ... a group of researchers from Japan have developed a skin transplant model that can create fully functional 3D skin transplants, complete with hair follicles and sebaceous glands, for replacing seriously damaged skin or as an alternative to animal tests.

Everyone's doing it—okay, not everyone but many have attempted it: growing 3D models of skin in the lab to graft onto burned or seriously damaged skin, or to serve as an alternative to animal testing for allergic reactions to topical products.

But this time, it's different. Tokyo University of Science's Takashi Tsuji, Ph.D., the lead author on a study published in Science Advances, worked with a team of scientists to develop a fully functional, 3D living transplant model. Burned or seriously damaged skin can now be replaced by a skin system grown from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in the lab.

The cells were created from mouse gum cells and used to grow the complex skin tissue, which in an astounding feat includes sebaceous glands and hair follicles, among other appendages, that successfully were reattached to the new host's epidermis, nerves and muscle fibers, etc.

Since these appendages play roles in waterproofing, cushioning, protecting deeper tissues, exerting waste and regulating heat, they are crucial to a fully functioning replacement skin—not to mention they could improve the validity and safety of product testing.

Sources: Science Advances and Medical News Today