Limited efficacy of adipose stromal cell secretome-loaded skin-derived hydrogels to augment skin flap regeneration in rats

Linda Vriend, Joris van Dongen, Viktor Sinkunas, Linda Brouwer, Henk Buikema, Luiz Moreira, Rolf Gemperli, Laura Bongiovanni, Alain de Bruin, Berend van der Lei, Cristina Camargo, Martin C Harmsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Insufficient vascularization is a recurring cause of impaired pedicled skin flap healing. The administration of adipose tissue-derived stromal cells' (ASCs') secretome is a novel approach to augment vascularization. Yet, the secretome comprised of soluble factors that require a sustained-release vehicle to increase residence time. We hypothesized that administration of a hydrogel derived from decellularized extracellular matrix (ECM) of porcine skin with bound trophic factors from ASCs enhances skin flap viability and wound repair in a rat model. Porcine skin was decellularized and pepsin-digested to form a hydrogel at 37°C. Conditioned medium (CMe) of human ASC was collected, concentrated 20-fold, and mixed with the hydrogel. Sixty Wistar rats were included. A dorsal skin flap (caudal based) of 3 × 10 cm was elevated for topical application of DMEM (group I), a prehydrogel with or without ASC CMe (groups II and III), or ASC CMe (group IV). After 7, 14, and 28 days, perfusion was measured, and skin flaps were harvested for wound healing assessment and immunohistochemical analysis. Decellularized skin ECM hydrogel contained negligible amounts of DNA (11.6 ± 0.6 ng/mg), was noncytotoxic and well tolerated by rats. Irrespective of ASC secretome, ECM hydrogel application resulted macroscopically and microscopically in similar dermal wound healing in terms of proliferation, immune response, and matrix remodeling as the control group. However, ASC CMe alone increased vessel density after 7 days. Porcine skin-derived ECM hydrogels loaded with ASC secretome are noncytotoxic but demand optimization to significantly augment wound healing of skin flaps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-640
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number19-20
Early online date18 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • ASC
  • ASC secretome
  • ECM
  • adipose-derived stromal cells
  • hydrogels
  • skin flap
  • wound healing


Dive into the research topics of 'Limited efficacy of adipose stromal cell secretome-loaded skin-derived hydrogels to augment skin flap regeneration in rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this