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This article is the author’s final published version in Scientific Reports, Volume 10, Issue 1, September 2020, Article number 15064.

The published version is available at Copyright © Fuentes et al.


Impaired wound healing complicates a wide range of diseases and represents a major cost to healthcare systems. Here we describe the use of discarded wound dressings as a novel, cost effective, accessible, and non-invasive method of isolating viable human cells present at the site of skin wounds. By analyzing 133 discarded wound dressings from 51 patients with the inherited skin-blistering disease epidermolysis bullosa (EB), we show that large numbers of cells, often in excess of 100 million per day, continually infiltrate wound dressings. We show, that the method is able to differentiate chronic from acute wounds, identifying significant increases in granulocytes in chronic wounds, and we show that patients with the junctional form of EB have significantly more cells infiltrating their wounds compared with patients with recessive dystrophic EB. Finally, we identify subsets of granulocytes and T lymphocytes present in all wounds paving the way for single cell profiling of innate and adaptive immune cells with relevance to wound pathologies. In summary, our study delineates findings in EB that have potential relevance for all chronic wounds, and presents a method of cellular isolation that has wide reaching clinical application.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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