Researchers Develop Artificial Equine Skin
This artificial skin for horses could help in managing burns (such as the one seen here), wounds, and other equine ailments, researchers said. Photo: R. Reid Hanson, DVM, Dipl. ACVS
What started as a playful gallop in the field just ended with your pasture fence in shambles and your horse with wounds all over his body. As you await the veterinarian’s arrival, you think of how convenient it would be to grow him some new skin to replace the patches he just lost.
Good news. Now you can.
Yes, that science fiction concept is actually becoming a reality in the equine world. While tissue-engineered skin already exists for humans, dogs, and even mice, it’s not as easy to grow skin in a laboratory that’s customized to the equine patient. The basic building block cells of horse skin, the equine primary keratinocytes, just don’t seem to last very long in a laboratory culture. But recently, a group of Spanish researchers have discovered an effective “recipe” for a culture that works for these keratinocytes. And so, tissue-engineered equine skin has now been born.
“We are very excited because our study describes, for the first time, the development of an equine artificial skin,” said Anna Puigdemont, PhD, of the Department of Pharmacology, Therapeutics, and Toxicology at the University of Barcelona. “This model has been used in humans mainly for treating burned patients, but it has also shown very useful results in other clinical situations. Therefore, despite it being a new strategy for tissue regeneration, its safety and usefulness seem guaranteed.”
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