In cases of extensive skin burns, there may not be sufficient viable skin to use as autografts. As a solution to this problem, we proposed that skin could be propagated in vitro, and the millions of cells thus grown could be used as autografts. The feasibility of this approach has been studied with rabbit skin. Under tissue culture conditions, small pieces of rabbit skin attach to supporting surfaces and proliferate to form layers of epithelial cells. A satisfactory supporting surface is the dermis of frozen porcine skin. With proper conditions, rabbit epithelial cell surface area can be expanded by a factor of 50 within 7 to 21 days.
Freeman AE, Igel HJ, Waldman NL, Losikoff AM. A New Method for Covering Large Surface Area Wounds With Autografts: I. In Vitro Multiplication of Rabbit-Skin Epithelial Cells. Arch Surg. 1974;108(5):721–723. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1974.01350290083014
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