All previous reports concerning the effect of stretch on cultured skin cells dealt with experiments on epidermal keratinocytes or dermal fibroblasts alone. The aim of the present study was to develop a system that allows application of stretch stimuli to human skin equivalents (HSEs), prepared by coculturing of these two types of cells. In addition, this study aimed to analyze the effect of a stretch on keratinization of the epidermis and on the basement membrane. HSEs were prepared in a gutter-like structure created with a porous silicone sheet in a silicone chamber. After 5-day stimulation with stretching, HSEs were analyzed histologically and immunohistologically. Stretch-stimulated HSEs had a thicker epidermal layer and expressed significantly greater levels of laminin 5 and collagen IV/VII in the basal layer compared with HSEs not subjected to stretch stimulation. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that the structure of the basement membrane was more developed in HSEs subjected to stretching. Our model may be relevant for extrapolating the effect of a stretch on the skin in a state similar to an in vivo system. This experimental system may be useful for analysis of the effects of stretch stimuli on skin properties and wound healing and is also expected to be applicable to an in vitro model of a hypertrophic scar in the future.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)