Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Lloyd Wolfinbarger, Jr.

Committee Member

Keith Carson

Committee Member

Paul Homsher

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 L73


Cultured human keratinocytes were grown in vitro for transplantation purposes in case of severe burns. Single keratinocytes were harvested from human epidermis and grown in culture flasks such that multilayered sheets of keratinocyte cells were harvestable in approximately three weeks. In order to evaluate cultured epidermis for equivalency with normal human epidermis, biochemical and histological studies were performed. Thin sections of cultured epidermis were shown to be composed of cells that had undergone developmental differentiation, but not terminal differentiation. Biochemical analyses of keratin and prekeratin proteins isolated from cultured epidermis indicated that cultured keratinocytes have electrophoretic patterns similar to keratins/prekeratins isolated from normal human epidermis. Both normal human epidermis and cultured epidermis have 5 different proteins with molecular weights ranging from 40 to 60 kilodaltons (kd). the cultured and normal epidermis differ, however, in that cultured epidermis does not undergo terminal differentiation, i.e. no stratum corneum was formed: therefore, the 62-70 kd group of keratin protein was not found in cultured skin, but was present in normal human skin. The research described suggests that cultured skin may represent a viable source of transplantable tissue for the treatment of severe burn trauma.


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