Japan researchers have been working for some time to grow what they call ‘complex skin tissue’. Complex tissue is categorized by having sweat glands as well as hair follicles. After implanting their latest bio-engineered skin substitute into mice, they were surprised to see the tissue connecting to the nerve and muscle fibers of the small animal.
This is huge news, as this type of scientific finding will help create better solutions for skin transplant patients around the globe as studies continue. Before this most recent study, the best skin available for recreation in the lab offered a maximum of two layers of skin and did not contain hair follicles or working sweat glands. This year’s creation has three layers of tissue, which is the same as organic skin created by the body. Japan’s most recent work was brought together from mouse gum sample cells. Upon applying chemicals to the mouse cells, researchers were able to transform the cells into those very similar to stem cells. From there, these cells were used to generate skin tissues within lab dishes, all three-layers mentioned previously, included. At this time, the tissue was transplanted.
Upon further viewing, researchers watched as the created tissue began making connections with the nerve and muscle tissues on the live mice. Because of these connections, the tissue began to blend in beautifully with surrounding cells without being rejected by the immune systems of the mice. At the 14 day mark after transplantation, researchers found hair beginning to sprout from the bio-engineered substitute hair follicles and proceeded to grow normally.
In order to create human tissue that can be used in skin graft patients, researchers say they will have to figure out a way to recreate skin growth using human cells. Once the use of human cells is made possible, this new medical finding may turn cosmetic animal testing into a procedure of the past and open up a whole new avenue of treatments.
The researchers are taking their latest findings and are currently trying to regenerate other organs similar to skin. This includes both teeth and salivary glands, Takashi Tsuji, one of the team leaders at the RIKEN Center for Development Biology, located in Japan has stated. Tsuji hopes to see these latest scientific findings turn into a concept for a regenerative therapy, and the ability to recreate a fully functional and integrated skin organ system that can be used as a standard clinical treatment in the future.