Mechanical tension influences the immunocompetency of ex vivo skin tissue

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Human-relevant testing methods have recently gained elevated awareness through both public pressure to reduce the use of animals and an appreciation of interspecies variation hindering pre-clinical to clinical translation rates. Model systems based on human surgical surplus, or donated, tissue could offer a gold standard in nonclinical testing, however, preservation of their inherent viability and biological responses once removed from the body are essential for ensuring reproduction of in vivo like responses to external stimuli. Skin on the body resides under a traction-force balance which is essential for maintaining skin homeostasis and is therefore an important factor in regulating both tissue structure and physiological function. When skin is excised from the body this mechanical tension is lost and due to the elastic nature of the tissue it contracts. We present a unique ex vivo culture system which restores this physiological tension, maintaining the tissue in a more normal state offering extended viability and more importantly retention of skin resident immune cells. Langerhans cells (LCs) are one such immune cell population that possess the ability to migrate from the epidermis to the draining lymph nodes and are as such an attractive target for immune initiation studies. A limitation in current ex vivoculture methods is the spontaneous migration of these cells, depleting their population and the utility of the tissue for evaluating immune responses. Using tissue clearing and whole-mount imaging techniques we show that by culturing skin at an optimized mechanical tension we can retain over 2-fold the population of these cells when compared to skin with no tension applied, and further, demonstrate immune activation out to 7 days in culture.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1053
Pages (from-to)S180
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number5
Early online date17 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2023
EventSociety for Investigative Dermatology - Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 10 May 202314 May 2023


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