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Title: Approaches to developing novel bioengineered skin substitutes
Author: Lim, Xuxin
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 4378
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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In this body of work, a new method of creating a tunable porous scaffold - emulsion templating - to reconstitute the dermal layer of skin was explored. This method has traditionally been used to create polymeric high internal phase emulsions (polyHIPEs). The challenge of using emulsions for templating protein hydrogel networks is the preservation of native protein conformation in an emulsion system. In this instance, a non-ionic surfactant blend was used to create a metastable biocompatible emulsion system for templating collagen, collagen-fibrin and fibrin polymeric hydrogels. This method of manufacture has the added advantage of ease of control of pore size and formation of nanofibrous filaments within the scaffold itself. Parameters for control of pore size such as hydrophile-lipophile balance (HLB) values of surfactant mixes, surfactant concentration, excipient concentration, temperature and mixing rate were explored. Protein-surfactant interaction was investigated using confocal fluorescence microscopy, tryptophan fluorescence, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), circular dichroism and enzymatic assays. Using Fluorescein Isothiocyanate Conjugate Bovine Serum Albumin (FITC-BSA) as a model protein, it was demonstrated that nonionic surfactants competitively adsorbed at interfaces, allowing FITC-BSA to remain in the aqueous phase and retaining its native conformation. Using a decane emulsion system, a biocompatible emulsion system was formulated, and emulsion droplets were used to create a hierarchical microporous scaffold (EmDerm). The mechanical properties and degradation profile of EmDerm scaffolds were also characterized. Three different cell types (human dermal fibroblasts, human dermal endothelial cells, mesenchymal stem cells) were seeded onto EmDerm scaffolds and cell proliferation was quantified as well as compared to commercial scaffolds Matriderm and Integra. The EmDerm scaffolds were shown to be highly biocompatible and comparable to commercial scaffolds. Co-cultures of various cell types were also performed to investigate the interaction of different cell types of the emulsion templated scaffolds. The proteome and secretome for both monoculture and co-cultures were also extracted and characterized to investigate effect of EmDerm scaffolds on secretion of degradative enzymes, structural proteins and growth factors as an indicator for in vivo activity of such scaffolds. EmDerm scaffolds implanted in rat wound healing models demonstrated no systemic inflammatory response. However, there was mild to moderate localized inflammatory response at implantation site at Day 7. This was associated with increased vascularization of the wound site at Day 14. Electrospinning of gelatin-polymer blends was also performed to create a pseudo-basement membrane as an epidermal carrier delivery system. The aim is to create an epidermal skin substitute to graft onto the neodermis when the EmDerm scaffolds have integrated into the wounds. Keratinocytes were shown to proliferate well on such membranes and the mechanical properties and degradation of the membranes were also characterized. In conclusion, emulsion-templated scaffolds are biocompatible and promote wound vascularization and integration in murine wound healing models. This work has potentially beneficial implications in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, particularly for burns and chronic wounds.
Supervisor: Cui, Zhanfeng ; Dye, Julian Sponsor: A*STAR ; China Regenerative Medicine International
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available