The Role of Fibroblasts in Tissue Engineering and Regeneration

T. Wong; J.A. McGrath; H. Navsaria


The British Journal of Dermatology. 2007;156(6):1149-1155. 

In This Article


Dermal fibroblasts are a dynamic population of cells that have a key role in ECM deposition, epithelial-mesenchymal interactions and wound healing. Fibroblasts are readily cultured in the laboratory and incorporation of fibroblasts into tissue-engineered skin substitutes has produced encouraging results including symptomatic pain relief, more rapid healing of acute and chronic wounds, less scarring and better cosmetic results. However, there is currently a desperate need to compare various tissue-engineered skin products in multicentre clinical trials which would enable the identification of specific products for particular clinical applications. This could potentially lead to a reduction in their costs following increased use of the specified product. In addition, combination of tissue-engineered skin substitutes with cytokines and growth factors may in future be used to enhance wound healing as well as the possibility of incorporating defensins for antimicrobial benefit. The future application of fibroblasts for gene therapy also offers great potential in providing new strategies for treating some of the severe skin genodermatoses. Furthermore, the environment that fibroblasts are grown in will determine the fate of the cell and also of other cell types, hence there is ongoing extensive research to identify the signalling pathways that are activated to optimize epithelial-mesenchymal interactions, a key event in wound healing.

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