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Publication in Theranostics by a.o. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Katharina Schallmoser, MSc and Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dirk Strunk.

Self-assembly of differentiated progenitor cells facilitates spheroid human skin organoid formation and planar skin regeneration

Self-assembly of solid organs from single cells would greatly expand applicability of regenerative medicine. Stem/progenitor cells can self-organize into micro-sized organ units, termed organoids, partially modelling tissue function and regeneration. Here we demonstrated 3D self-assembly of adult and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived fibroblasts, keratinocytes and endothelial progenitors into both, planar human skin in vivo and a novel type of spheroid-shaped skin organoids in vitro, under the aegis of human platelet lysate.
Methods: Primary endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs), skin fibroblasts (FBs) and keratinocytes (KCs) were isolated from human tissues and polyclonally propagated under 2D xeno-free conditions. Human tissue-derived iPSCs were differentiated into endothelial cells (hiPSC-ECs), fibroblasts (hiPSC-FBs) and keratinocytes (hiPSC-KCs) according to efficiency-optimized protocols. Cell identity and purity were confirmed by flow cytometry and clonogenicity indicated their stem/progenitor potential. Triple cell type floating spheroids formation was promoted by human platelet-derived growth factors containing culture conditions, using nanoparticle cell labelling for monitoring the organization process. Planar human skin regeneration was assessed in full-thickness wounds of immune-deficient mice upon transplantation of hiPSC-derived single cell suspensions.
Results: Organoids displayed a distinct architecture with surface-anchored keratinocytes surrounding a stromal core, and specific signaling patterns in response to inflammatory stimuli. FGF-7 mRNA transfection was required to accelerate keratinocyte long-term fitness. Stratified human skin also self-assembled within two weeks after either adult- or iPSC-derived skin cell-suspension liquid-transplantation, healing deep wounds of mice. Transplant vascularization significantly accelerated in the presence of co-transplanted endothelial progenitors. Mechanistically, extracellular vesicles mediated the multifactorial platelet-derived trophic effects. No tumorigenesis occurred upon xenografting.
Conclusion: This illustrates the superordinate progenitor self-organization principle and permits novel rapid 3D skin-related pharmaceutical high-content testing opportunities with floating spheroid skin organoids. Multi-cell transplant self-organization facilitates development of iPSC-based organ regeneration strategies using cell suspension transplantation supported by human platelet factors. [get the paper]