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Background. Little is known about keratinocytic activation in the graft take and healing process.

Objective. To investigate the clinical and molecular differences between pure epidermal sheet graft (PESG), split-thickness skin graft (STSG), and full-thickness skin graft (FTSG).

Methods. Three different thickness skin grafts (PESG, STSG, and FTSG) were performed onto three kinds of porcine wounds: shallow, deep, and full. Graft take, contraction, and Ki-67 and β1 integrin expression in epidermis were studied.

Results. All grafts took well. As expected, full wounds covered by PESG and STSG contracted more than those covered by FTSG, whereas shallow wounds covered by FTSG contracted more than those covered by STSG. No difference in contracture was observed among deep wounds covered by PESG, STSG, and FTSG. Up-regulation of Ki-67 and β1 integrin expression was greater in PESG and STSG, compared with little expression in FTSG.

Conclusion. The keratinocytic activation phase may occur both in the STSG and PESG healing process, as well as serum imbibition, inosculatory, and revascularization phases.