Preclinical assessment of efficacy of Wharton’s jelly mesenchymal stem cells on a scaffold of Aloe vera-Polycaprolactone in wound healing using a rat burn model.

Dr Susan Jehangir1, Ms Sowmya Ramesh1, Dr  Madhuri Walter1

1Christian Medical College, Vellore, India


Background:  This project studies the regeneration of epidermal and dermal components with the use human Wharton’s Jelly Mesenchymal Cells (WJ-MSCs) on a Aloe vera-Polycaprolactone (A-PCL) composite scaffold and Collagen sheet  in a rat burn model

Methods: MSC from Wharton Jelly were isolated, cultured and characterized using flow cytometry. Cells at passage 1 (1×105 cm2) were seeded on an in-house fabricated aloe vera and collagen sheets (Kӧllagen®, India). Critical sized (4 cm2) in vivo burn model in rat was established by applying a heated coin over the back for 30 sec without external pressure. Experimental groups (n=7 each) were a. burn control, b. collagen alone, c. aloe vera alone, d. collagen +WJ-MSCs and e. aloe vera +WJ-MSCs. Outcome was assessed by gross appearance and histology (H&E).

Results: Culture expanded MSC were characterised positive for human cell surface markers. The wound remained unhealed in the burns control group at day 28 with a Bates Jensen score of 18. The other four arms healed with the fastest healing occurring in the A-PCL with WJ-MSCs group. Histology of the burns control group showed the non-healing ulcer with minimal epithelization and no sweat or sebaceous glands. The A-PCL group showed epithelization with no adnexal structures. Both collagen groups showed a similar picture with complete epithelization and a few hair follicles and additionally, immature sweat glands in the collagen WJ-MSC group. The A-PCL WJ-MSC group showed complete epithelization with abundant hair follicles and sweat glands.

Conclusion: We found that in-house fabricated aloe vera sheets with MSC augmented skin repair. There was significant regeneration of skin appendages in this group.


Susan is a consultant Pediatric surgeon at the Christian medical College at Vellore. She is currently a fellow at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

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