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J Invest Surg. 2006 Mar-Apr;19(2):105-11.

Grafts of porcine intestinal submucosa for repair of cervical and abdominal esophageal defects in the rat.

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  • 1Laboratory of Experimental Research of the University Hospital of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.


Porcine small intestinal submucosa (SIS) is a cell-free collagen matrix that has demonstrated its ability as scaffold material for constructive remodeling of damaged or missing tissue. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the morphology and function of esophagoplasty in rat using a porcine SIS scaffold for the repair of a semi-circumferential defect in the cervical or in the abdominal esophagus. Sixty-seven rats underwent surgical excision of the anterior wall either of the cervical or of the abdominal esophagus and subsequent repair of the defect with an SIS patch graft. Outcomes of weight gain, signs of dysphagia, hematological and serum chemistry parameters, and barium swallow studies were used to assess the progress of healing and function over a 150-day time period. The grafts were studied for gross changes and histology at predetermined time points. Ninety-four percent of the SIS-treated rats survived, showing no significant differences in survival rate between groups. The grafted animals did well, without signs of dysphagia, and gaining weight. Barium swallow studies showed no evidence of fistula, significant stenosis, or diverticula. No hematological or serum biochemistry abnormalities were found. By 150 days, the SIS graft was replaced with esophageal-derived tissues. Specimens were completely lined by keratinized stratified squamous epithelium and showed complete regeneration of muscle fibers and scarce immunoreactivity for nerve. In the rat model, a patch graft technique using porcine SIS appears to induce esophageal regrowth either in cervical and abdominal esophagus. The repair mechanism occurred through a regenerative healing process.

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