Assessment of cryopreserved donor skin viability: the experience of the regional tissue bank of Siena

Research paper by E. Pianigiani, L. Tognetti, F. Ierardi, G. Mariotti, P. Rubegni, G. Cevenini, R. Perotti, M. Fimiani

Indexed on: 09 Mar '16Published on: 03 Mar '16Published in: Cell and Tissue Banking


Skin allografts from cadaver donors are an important resource for treating extensive burns, slow-healing wounds and chronic ulcers. A high level of cell viability of cryopreserved allografts is often required, especially in burn surgery, in Italy. Thus, we aimed to determine which conditions enable procurement of highly viable skin in our Regional Skin Bank of Siena. For this purpose, we assessed cell viability of cryopreserved skin allografts procured between 2011 and 2013 from 127 consecutive skin donors, before and after freezing (at day 15, 180, and 365). For each skin donor, we collected data concerning clinical history (age, sex, smoking, phototype, dyslipidemia, diabetes, cause of death), donation process (multi-tissue or multi-organ) and timing of skin procurement (assessment of intervals such as death-harvesting, harvesting-banking, death-banking). All these variables were analysed in the whole case study (127 donors) and in different groups (e.g. multi-organ donors, non refrigerated multi-tissue donors, refrigerated multi-tissue donors) for correlations with cell viability. Our results indicated that cryopreserved skin allografts with higher cell viability were obtained from female, non smoker, heartbeating donors died of cerebral haemorrhage, and were harvested within 2 h of aortic clamping and banked within 12 h of harvesting (13–14 h from clamping). Age, cause of death and dyslipidaemia or diabetes did not appear to influence cell viability. To maintain acceptable cell viability, our skin bank needs to reduce the time interval between harvesting and banking, especially for refrigerated donors.