Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Epidermal stem cells have been in clinical application as a source of culture-generated grafts. Although applications for such cells are increasing due to aging populations and the greater incidence of diabetes, current keratinocyte grafting technology is limited by immunological barriers and the time needed for culture amplification. We studied the feasibility of using human fetal skin cells for allogeneic transplantation and showed that fetal keratinocytes have faster expansion times, longer telomeres, lower immunogenicity indicators, and greater clonogenicity with more stem cell indicators than adult keratinocytes. The fetal cells did not induce proliferation of T cells in coculture and were able to suppress the proliferation of stimulated T cells. Nevertheless, fetal keratinocytes could stratify normally in vitro. Experimental transplantation of fetal keratinocytes in vivo seeded on an engineered plasma scaffold yielded a well-stratified epidermal architecture and showed stable skin regeneration. These results support the possibility of using fetal skin cells for cell-based therapeutic grafting.