Tissue Engineering Part B, Reviews vol:17 issue:1 pages:13-24
Providing a blood-vascular network to promote survival and integration of cells in thick dermal substitutes for application in full-thickness wounds is essential for the successful outcome of skin tissue engineering. Nevertheless, promoting vascularization also represents a critical bottleneck in today's skin tissue engineering practice. Several cell types have been considered and tested, mostly in preclinical studies, to increase vascularization. When the clinical situation allows delayed reconstruction of the defect, an autologous approach is preferable, whereas in acute cases allogeneic therapy is needed. In both cases, the cells should be harvested with minimal donor-site morbidity and should be available in large amounts and safe in terms of tumor formation and transmission of animal diseases. Here, we outline the different mechanisms of cell-based vascularization and subsequently elaborate in more detail on the candidate cell types and their pros and cons in terms of clinical application and regulation of the wound healing process.