Cell and Tissue Banking

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 317–324 | Cite as

Skin explant cultures as a source of keratinocytes for cultivation

Original Paper


Cultivated human keratinocytes can be used successfully in the treatment of burn patients, but efforts to heal burns and other wounds can be hampered by the very small skin biopsies available for cultivation of transplantable keratinocyte sheets. A small biopsy (and correspondingly small number of enzymatically isolated keratinocytes for use in classical cultivation techniques) can lead to a low yield of multilayer sheets for clinical application or unacceptably long cultivation times. One way of addressing this is to make use of skin remnants remaining after enzymatic digestion and culture cells migrating out of these skin explants. Sufficient numbers of explant-derived keratinocytes can be obtained to facilitate additional routine cultivation of these cells. Biopsy remnants can be used to initiate explant cultures repeatedly (we were able to re-use pieces of skin 10 times and still obtain useful numbers of keratinocytes) and this “passaging” yields substantially more cells for classical cultivation than would be available from conventional methodology alone, and in a comparable timeframe. Another advantage of this method is that it does not require additional biopsies to be procured from already-compromised patients and overcomes problems associated with contamination of skin samples with resistant hospital-acquired bacterial infections common during prolonged hospitalization.


Skin remnants Explant culture Keratinocytes Dermal fibroblasts Keratinocyte cultivation Keratinocyte sheets 



The authors thank Joanne Martin for critical comments on an early version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Burns and Reconstructive Surgery, Faculty of MedicineComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovak Republic
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and Virology, Faculty of Natural SciencesComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovak Republic
  3. 3.Institute of VirologySlovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovak Republic

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