Skin related ailments and use of cultured cells

Efforts are all ready on to use artificial skin derived from cultured cells to treat different skin related ailments especially severe burns. Skin is one organ that can be aritificially made from cell culture and used for grafting after skin damage caused by severe burns. Keratinocytes make 90% of the epidermis of the skin can be cultured under in vitro conditions. Their proliferation is facilitated by the products of fibroblasts which are found in the dermis layer of the skin therefore Fibroblast cells called 3T3 cells were added in the culture of keratinocytes besides adding epidermal growth factors, cholera toxin and a mixture of growth factors. Only 1-10% of epidermal cells grow as the others start differentiating. In order to stop stratification of cell layers, the cells are continuously separated and re-cultured until a sheet of pure epithelium is obtained.

The cells of this sheet of epithelium are linked by Desmosomes therefore it is detached from the vessel by using the enzyme dispase. After cleaning it of extraneous proteins, it is attached to a gauze and brought to the hospital for using it as graft.

The cultured keratinocytes have been used in:

a) Removal of scars on skin using cultured cells.
b) Regeneration of epithelium of mouth using cultured oral keratinocytes.
c) Repair of congenital penile defects using cultured urethral keratinocytes.
d) Treatment of several diseases related to middle ear.
e) Treatment of chronic skin ulcers using cultured grafts.

Intensive research is going on to use cultured keratinocytes in various other areas such as using them as lining of vascular prostheses (artificial limbs), to repair urinary tracts, use of pancreatic islet cells to treat diabetes, use of cultured myloblasts to treat muscle diseases.

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