Two new skin substitutes, Living Skin Equivalent (LSE) and Living Dermal Equivalent (DE), have recently been developed. In this experiment, the ability of the LSE and DE preparations to function as biological dressings in an acute wound model was tested. Forty full-thickness wounds were made in New Zealand White rabbits. Each wound was inoculated with 5 x 105 Staphylococcus aureus organisms. Twenty-four hours later, one of the following four dressings was applied: saline gauze, porcine-derived xenograft, LSE, or DE. Daily dressing changes and wound biopsies for bacterial counts were performed. At 96 hours after inoculation, split-thickness autograft was applied to all wounds. Skin graft take was assessed 5 days later. In all treatment groups, bacterial counts decreased over time (p = 0.02). At 72 and 96 hours after inoculation, wounds dressed with LSE or DE had significantly lower mean bacterial counts than wounds treated with xenograft dressing (p < 0.01). No significant differences were found among the LSE-, DE-, or saline- treated groups. Skin grafts took well in LSE- and DE-treated wounds. In conclusion, the LSE and DE were more effective than xenograft in reducing bacterial wound contamination in this model, thereby demonstrating their potential application as biological dressing materials.
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