Reconstructed human keloid models show heterogeneity within keloid scars

G.C. Limandjaja, L.J. van den Broek, T. Waaijman, M. Breetveld, S. Monstrey, R.J. Scheper, F.B. Niessen, S. Gibbs

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Keloid scars are often described as having an actively growing peripheral margin with a regressing centre. The aim of this study was to examine the possible heterogeneity within keloids and the involvement of different regions within and around keloid scars in the pathogenesis, using an in vitro keloid scar model. In vitro skin models were constructed from keratinocytes and fibroblasts from normal skin and different regions within and around keloid scars: periphery, centre, and (adjacent) surrounding-normal-skin regions. Additionally, fibroblasts were isolated from the superficial-central and deep-central regions of the keloid and combined with central keratinocytes. All keloid regions showed increased contraction compared to normal skin models, particularly in central regions. Myofibroblasts were present in all keloid regions but were more abundant in models containing central-deep keloid fibroblasts. Secretion of anti-fibrotic HGF and extracellular matrix collagen IV gene expression was reduced in the central deep keloid compared to normal skin. No significant differences between peripheral and central regions within keloids were observed for inflammatory cytokine CCL20, CCL27, CXCL8, IL-6 and IL-18 secretion. Parameters for surrounding-normal-skin showed similarities to both non-lesional normal skin and keloids. In conclusion, a simple but elegant method of culturing keloid-derived keratinocytes and fibroblasts in an organotypic 3D scar model was developed, for the dual purpose of studying the underlying pathology and ultimately testing new therapeutics. In this study, these tissue engineered scar models show that the central keloid region shows a more aggressive keloid scar phenotype than the periphery and that the surrounding-normal-skin also shares certain abnormalities characteristic for keloids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-826
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Dermatological Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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