Adipose-derived stem cells in wound healing of full-thickness skin defects: a review of the literature*

Maria T. Huayllani, Rachel Sarabia-Estrada, David J. Restrepo, Daniel Boczar, Andrea Sisti, Justin H. Nguyen, Brian D. Rinker, Steven L. Moran, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, Antonio J. Forte

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The complex process of wound healing can be delayed in circumstances when the natural niche is extremely altered. Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC) seem to be a promising therapy for these type of wounds. We aim to describe the studies that used ADSC for wound healing after a full-thickness skin defect, the ADSC mechanisms of action, and the outcomes of the different ADSC therapies applied to date. We performed a review by querying PubMed database for studies that evaluated the use of ADSC for wound healing. The Mesh terms, adipose stem cells AND (skin injury OR wound healing) and synonyms were used for the search. Our search recorded 312 articles. A total of 30 articles met the inclusion criteria. All were experimental in nature. ADSC was applied directly (5 [16.7%]), in sheets (2 [6.7%]), scaffolds (14 [46.7%]), skin grafts (3 [10%]), skin flaps (1 [3.3%]), as microvesicles or exosomes (4 [13.3%]), with adhesives for wound closure (1 [3.3%]), and in a concentrated conditioned hypoxia-preconditioned medium (1 [3.3%]). Most of the studies reported a benefit of ADSC and improvement of wound healing with all types of ADSC therapy. ADSC applied along with extracellular matrix, stromal cell-derived factor (SDF-1) or keratinocytes, or ADSC seeded in scaffolds showed better outcomes in wound healing than ADSC alone. ADSC have shown to promote angiogenesis, fibroblast migration, and up-regulation of macrophages chemotaxis to enhance the wound healing process. Further studies should be conducted to assure the efficacy and safety of the different ADSC therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-279
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • adipose tissue
  • regenerative medicine
  • wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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