1997 Pigment Cell Res 1997 Dec ;10(6):382-390
Laboratory of Skin Substitutes, CNRS-URA 1341, Edouard Herriot Hospital, Lyon, France

Pigmented human skin equivalent: new method of reconstitution by grafting an epithelial sheet onto a non-contractile dermal equivalent

We have established a new protocol for reconstituting a pigmented human skin equivalent (PSE) and have evaluated its functional responses to environmental stimulus, UVB. The PSE is reconstituted by grafting an epithelial sheet consisting of keratinocytes and melanocytes onto a porous non-contractile dermal equivalent populated with mitotically and metabolically active fibroblasts. i) The PSE has a multilayered, well-differentiated epidermis with cuboidal basal cells and highly organised dermis with newly synthesised extracellular matrix components. ii) Ki67-positive proliferating keratinocytes (18.1 +/- 7.4%) were detected on the basal layer of the epidermis. iii) Melanocytes located exclusively within the basal layer were detected by monoclonal antibody against tyrosinase-related protein (TRP-1). iv) After exposure to UVB (100 mJ/cm2 per day) for 7 consecutive days, the intensity of TRP-1 staining was increased in the PSE, showing their functional state, whereas the number of melanocytes was not changed. This non-contractile and functioning new PSE is potentially useful as a model for studying the role of melanocyte-keratinocyte-fibroblast interactions in photoprotection of the skin in more complex cutaneous microenvironment than monolayer culture, and for developing in vitro disease models and therapeutic protocols with genetically altered cells both in epidermis and dermis