Skin Healing Technology: Dermal Substitutes and Engineered Skin with Rete Ridges

Dermal substitute with engineered rete ridges improves epidermal-dermal communication and enhances burn wound treatment.

Massive burn injuries present a critical challenge in wound healing and prevention of infection. Current treatment methods are susceptible to blistering and other problems that can reduce engraftment.

The Need

Cultured epithelial autografts (CEAs) are a vital component in treating large burns, but their susceptibility to blistering and poor engraftment has been a significant limitation. The slow deposition of the basement membrane compounds this issue, leading to fragility, infection risk, and challenging scar management. Improving CEA durability, engraftment, and resistance to shear forces is paramount for enhancing functional outcomes in patients with extensive burn injuries..

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a dermal substitute enriched with engineered rete ridges, specifically designed to address the shortcomings of traditional CEAs. This innovative dermal template not only serves as a carrier for skin grafts, including CEAs, but also significantly improves skin healing and regrowth. By enhancing epidermal-dermal communication, increasing basement membrane protein deposition, and reducing graft contraction, OSU’s technology represents a major leap forward in burn wound treatment. The dermal template can be precisely tailored with tunable rete ridge characteristics, offering versatility in applications such as acellular scaffolds, fibroblast-seeded dermal substitutes, or the dermal component of a full-thickness skin substitute and/or a cultured epithelial autograft.

Commercial Applications

  • Surgical application facilitation for skin grafts, including CEAs
  • Improved epidermal-dermal communication in burn wound treatment
  • Increased basement membrane protein deposition for enhanced wound healing
  • Reduction in graft contraction, leading to improved functional outcomes
  • Versatile fabrication options for acellular scaffolds, dermal substitutes, and cultured epithelial autografts


  • Enhanced durability and resistance to shear forces in CEAs
  • Significant reduction in blistering, leading to improved engraftment rates
  • Versatile fabrication options with tunable rete ridge characteristics
  • Improved scar management and overall functional outcomes for patients

Patent Application pending

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