Novel In Vitro Technologies for Testing Compounds for Chronic Wound Care

Chronic wound healing events which occur in humans are difficult to study in animals due to differences in skin physiology. Furthermore there are increasing restrictions in Europe for using animals for testing the therapeutic properties of new compounds.

Therefore, in line with the 3Rs (reduction, refinement and replacement of test animals), we have developed a number of human in vitro models of different levels of complexity to investigate wound healing in vitro.

Exudates derived from ulcer debridement tissue are used to mimic the chronic wound environment. Keratinocytes, melanocytes, fibroblasts and endothelial cells are studied, since these are the residential cells which are responsible for restoring the main structural features of the skin. The models range from simple proliferation and contract assays to migration and angiogenic sprouting assays.

Human physiologically relevant tissue-engineered skin models are used to investigate expansion of the stratified, differentiated epidermis (keratinocytes and melanocytes) over a fibroblast populated dermis and also to study migration and distribution of fibroblasts into the dermis.

Together these skin models provide a platform for testing the safety and mode of action of novel compounds for chronic wound healing.

This Lecture is Presented by Prof. Dr. Sue Gibbs
Department of  Dermatology, VU University Medical Center,  Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Department of Oral Cell Biology, Academic Center for Dentistry Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam and VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands