Development and Characterisation of a Human Chronic Skin Wound Cell Line: Towards an Alternative for Animal Experimentation

Matthew Caley, Ivan Wall, Matthew Peake, David Kipling, Peter Giles, David Thomas, Phil Stephens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chronic skin wounds are a growing financial burden for healthcare providers, causing discomfort/immobility to patients. Whilst animal chronic wound models have been developed to allow for mechanistic studies and to develop/test potential therapies, such systems are not good representations of the human chronic wound state. As an alternative, human chronic wound fibroblasts (CWFs) have permitted an insight into the dysfunctional cellular mechanisms that are associated with these wounds. However, such cells strains have a limited replicative lifespan and therefore a limited reproducibility/usefulness. Objectives: To develop/characterise immortalised cell lines of CWF and patient-matched normal fibroblasts (NFs). Methods and Results: Immortalisation with human telomerase resulted in both CWF and NF proliferating well beyond their replicative senescence end-point (respective cell strains senesced as normal). Gene expression analysis demonstrated that, whilst proliferation-associated genes were up-regulated in the cell lines (as would be expected), the immortalisation process did not significantly affect the disease-specific genotype. Immortalised CWF (as compared to NF) also retained a distinct impairment in their wound repopulation potential (in line with CWF cell strains). Conclusions: These novel CWF cell lines are a credible animal alternative and could be a valuable research tool for understanding both the aetiology of chronic skin wounds and for therapeutic pre-screening.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1001
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access
article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution
(CC BY) license (


Dive into the research topics of 'Development and Characterisation of a Human Chronic Skin Wound Cell Line: Towards an Alternative for Animal Experimentation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this