The origin of the blood vessels in a skin graft after transplantation has been subjected to debate for long time. It is not entirely clear whether the vascularization of adult skin grafts is achieved by penetration of new vessels from the host into the transplant (neovascularization), by anastomosis of host blod vessels with preexisting graft vessels, or by combination of these processes.
It is well known that nude mice maintain lifetime skin grafts from a large variety of mammals, including man, and from bird. These grafts of heterologous skin onto nude mice retain all the morphological and ultrastructural features associated with normal skin. Human skin grafted onto the nude mouse appears to be able to preserve not only its structural and immunological identity but also most of its functional properties. Wound healing is one major property of skin. It was already suggested that human skin transplanted onto nude mice had the potential to regenerate since, as example, the human epidermis appears able to be completely regenerated from the surviving epidermal cells of the basal layer.
In the present article, we are going to successively describe the results of studies of the wound healing process of cutaneous full thickness wounds when the three cutaneous compartments, namely the epidermis, the dermal-epidermal junction and the dermis have been injuried. In other articles, we will analyse the healing of cutaneous partial thickness wound when the epidermis, and only a superficial part of the dermis is removed by mechanical dermabrasion and, eventually, cutaneous wound caused by a strong acid trichloro-acetic acid.