Improving skin integration around long-term percutaneous devices using fibrous scaffolds in a reconstructed human skin equivalent model

Eleonore C.L. Bolle, Nicole Bartnikowski, Parvathi Haridas, Tony J. Parker, John F. Fraser, Shaun D. Gregory, Tim R. Dargaville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The interface between synthetic percutaneous devices and skin is a common area for bacterial infection, which may ultimately result in failure of the device. Better integration of percutaneous devices with skin may help reduce infection rates due to the creation of a dermal seal. However, the mismatch in material and chemical properties of devices and skin presents a challenge for closing the dermal gap at the skin–device interface. Here, we have used a tissue engineering approach to tissue integration by creating a highly fibrous poly(ε-caprolactone) scaffold using melt electrowriting and seeding this with dermal fibroblasts, followed by maturation and insertion into a full-thickness defect made in an ex vivo skin model. The integration of seeded scaffolds was compared with controls including a non-seeded scaffold and a polymer tube with a smooth surface. Dermal fibroblast inclusion in the scaffold and epidermal upgrowth versus downgrowth/marsupialization around the device were used as measures of integration. Based on these measures, almost all pre-seeded scaffolds performed better than both the non-seeded scaffolds and smooth tubes. The hypothesis is that the fibroblasts act as a barrier to epithelial downward migration, and provide healthy tissue for nascent epidermal development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-749
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B: Applied Biomaterials
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • dermis
  • melt electrowriting
  • percutaneous device
  • polycaprolactone

Cite this