Skin exhibits a complex structure consisting of three predominant layers (epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis). Extensive trauma may result in the loss of these structures and poor repair, in the longer term, forming scarred tissue and associated reduction in function. Although a number of skin replacements exist, there have been no solutions that recapitulate the chemical, mechanical, and biological roles that exist within native skin. This study reports the use of suspended layer additive manufacturing to produce a continuous tri-layered implant, which closely resembles human skin. Through careful control of the bioink composition, gradients (chemical and cellular) were formed throughout the printed construct. Culture of the model demonstrated that over 21 days, the cellular components played a key role in remodeling the supporting matrix into architectures comparable with those of healthy skin. Indeed, it has been demonstrated that even at seven days post-implantation, the integration of the implant had occurred, with mobilization of the adipose tissue from the surrounding tissue into the construct itself. As such, it is believed that these implants can facilitate healing, commencing from the fascia, up toward the skin surface—a mechanism recently shown to be key within deep wounds.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to acknowledge the funding provided by the EPSRC (No. EP/S023070/1) for a studentship (Miruna Chipara).
© 2021 Author(s).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering