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The Effect of Antiseptics on Adipose-Derived Stem Cells

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017 Mar;139(3):625-637. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000003125.

Authors/Editors: Kim BS, Ott V, Boecker AH, Stromps JP, Paul NE, Alharbi Z, Cakmak E, Bernhagen J, Bucala R, Pallua N.
Publication Date: 2017



The skin forms a natural barrier that protects underlying tissue; once the skin barrier is broken, wound repair is induced by a meticulously orchestrated host response.1 Nonhealing wounds represent a major health care burden and affect approximately 1 percent of the population,2 and the leading threat to all wounds is infection by microorganisms.3 Chemical antiseptics are the favored method in clinical routine because of their effectiveness, simple applicability, and low costs.4,5

To date, most authors have limited investigation of the toxicity of antiseptics to skin cells (i.e., keratinocytes and fibroblasts) and adapted the concentrations of the reagents accordingly.6–10 With the exception of superficial wounds, however, the tissue layers underneath the skin also are affected and prone to bacterial contamination. Subcutaneous adipose tissue actively participates in wound repair by the delivery of cytokines and the differentiation of progenitor cells.11–16 Adipose tissue has been discovered to be a rich source of adipose-derived stem cells, which possess considerable regenerative potential17 and play a well-documented beneficial role in wound repair.2,18

Adipose tissue frequently comes into contact with chemical antiseptics during the treatment of plastic surgical patients, especially during surgical preparation of open or infected wounds that entails direct contact. Additional scenarios are the rinsing of wounds and antiseptic dressings for the treatment of critical wounds. However, no studies have examined possible toxic effects of antiseptics on adipose-derived stem cells. In the present study, we measured the effect of five commercially available antiseptics on the viability, proliferation, cell death, expression of stem cell markers, and differentiation of cultured adipose-derived stem cells with the goal of identifying auspicious antiseptics for the treatment of wounds with exposure of adipose tissue.

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