Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Can plantar fibroblast implantation protect amputees from skin injury....pdf (557.6 kB)

Can plantar fibroblast implantation protect amputees from skin injury? a recipe for skin augmentation

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Version 2 2022-04-08, 14:43
Version 1 2021-08-06, 10:07
journal contribution
posted on 2022-04-08, 14:43 authored by Colin Boyle, Claire A. Higgins
Skin injuries remain a persistent problem for users of lower-limb prostheses despite sustained progress in prosthesis design. One factor limiting the prevention of skin injuries is that skin on the residual limb is not suited to bear the mechanical loads of ambulation. One part of the body that is suited to this task is the sole of the foot. Here, we propose a novel strategy to actively augment skin's tolerance to load, increasing its resistance to mechanically induced injuries. We hypothesise that the load tolerance of skin can be augmented by autologous transplantation of plantar fibroblasts into the residual limb dermis. We expect that introducing plantar fibroblasts will induce the overlying keratinocytes to express plantar-specific keratins leading to a tougher epidermis. Using a computational finite element model of a weight-bearing residual limb, we estimate that skin deformation (a key driver of pressure ulcer injuries) could be halved by reprogramming skin to a plantar-like phenotype. We believe this strategy could yield new progress in pressure ulcer prevention for amputees, facilitating rehabilitation and improving quality of life for patients


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Grant/Award Number: EP/N026845/1

Marie Sklodowska-Curie EU Horizon 2020 grant, Grant/Award Number: 892407



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Published Citation

Boyle CJ, Higgins CA. Can plantar fibroblast implantation protect amputees from skin injury? A recipe for skin augmentation. Exp Dermatol. 2021 Dec;30(12):1829-833

Publication Date

26 June 2021

PubMed ID



  • Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine
  • Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG)

Research Area

  • Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine




  • Published Version (Version of Record)