Isolation, Culture, and Characterization of Primary Schwann Cells, Keratinocytes, and Fibroblasts from Human Foreskin

Mashanipalya G. Jagadeeshaprasad, Prem Kumar Govindappa, Amanda M. Nelson, John C. Elfar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This protocol describes isolation methods, culturing conditions, and characterization of human primary cells with high yield and viability using rapid enzymatic dissociation of skin. Primary keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and Schwann cells are all harvested from the human newborn foreskin, which is available following standard of care procedures. The removed skin is disinfected, and the subcutaneous fat and muscle are removed using a scalpel. The method consists of enzymatic and mechanical separation of epidermal and dermal layers, followed by additional enzymatic digestion to obtain single-cell suspensions from each of these skin layers. Finally, single cells are grown in appropriate cell culture media following standard cell culture protocols to maintain growth and viability over weeks. Together, this simple protocol allows isolation, culturing, and characterization of all three cell types from a single piece of skin for in vitro evaluation of skin-nerve models. Additionally, these cells can be used together in co-cultures to gauge their effects on each other and their responses to in vitro trauma in the form of scratches performed robotically in the culture associated with wound healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere63776
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number181
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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