Cultured epidermal sheets were examined before and at various times after grafting on skin ulcer beds. Before grafting, the sheet consisted of four to five layers of keratinocytes with incomplete differentiation. Ten days after grafting, graft recipient sites showed compact hyperkeratosis, a normal-appearing epidermis, and a flat dermoepidermal junction. At 6 months, the stratum corneum had a basket-weave appearance but the dermoepidermal junction remained flat. Monoclonal antibodies to keratins 14 and 10 showed normal basal and suprabasal localization, respectively. Electron microscopy showed a normal basement membrane with anchoring fibrils. LH7:2, a monoclonal antibody that binds to the type VII collagen molecule, stained the dermoepidermal junction in all biopsy specimens. AE-1, an antibody that stains suprabasal cells in hyperproliferative skin, was expressed suprabasally for up to 12 weeks after healing (16 weeks after grafting), but expression was confined to the basal layer at 18 weeks after healing (6 months after grafting). Anti-involucrin staining was found in the deeper layers of the epidermis up to 12 weeks after healing (16 weeks after grafting) but had receded to a normal distribution in upper spinous and granular layers at 18 weeks (6 months after grafting). Overall, the histologic patterns observed in recipient sites during the first 4 months after grafting resembled those observed for 10 to 14 days in newly healed epidermis and in hyperproliferative states such as psoriasis, In four sex-mismatched graft sites, specimens were reacted with a biotinylated probe to the Y chromosome by in situ hybridization. Lack of Y chromosome—positive cells suggested that host keratinocytes had replaced the allografts. Multilocus DNA analysis in one patient confirmed this observation. Our data suggest that an altered state of epithelial maturation persists for several months after culture grafting, with restoration of the normal pattern by 6 months. No differences were detected between autografted and allografted sites.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.