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Keywords:

  • extracellular matrix;
  • scaffold;
  • degradation;
  • cell recruitment;
  • chemotaxis;
  • keratinocyte

Abstract

Biological scaffolds composed of naturally occurring extracellular matrix (ECM) have been utilized as templates for the constructive remodelling of numerous tissues in preclinical studies and human clinical applications. The mechanisms by which ECM induces constructive remodelling are not well understood, but it appears that the degradation products of ECM scaffolds may play key roles in cell recruitment. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of age and species of the tissue from which ECM is harvested on the chemoattractant activity of degradation products of ECM for human keratinocyte stem and progenitor cells. Adult human skin ECM, fetal human skin ECM and adult porcine skin ECM were prepared, enzymatically digested, characterized by SDS–PAGE and evaluated for in vitro chemoattractant activity for human keratinocyte progenitor and stem cells (HEKn). Degradation products of human fetal skin ECM showed greater chemoattractant activity than human adult skin ECM degradation products for the HEKn. Degradation products of porcine adult skin ECM showed greater chemoattractant activity than human adult skin ECM. The human fetal skin ECM degradation products showed the strongest chemoattractant activity for the HEKn. The findings of this study support the concept that the mechanism of ECM scaffold remodelling involves the recruitment of lineage-directed progenitor cells by scaffold degradation products, and that both the age and species of the tissue from which the ECM is harvested have an effect upon this chemoattractant potential. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.