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Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2013 May;19(5):345-51. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2012.0467. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Characterizing morphology and nonlinear elastic properties of normal and thermally stressed engineered oral mucosal tissues using scanning acoustic microscopy.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


This study examines the use of high-resolution ultrasound to monitor changes in the morphology and nonlinear elastic properties of engineered oral mucosal tissues under normal and thermally stressed culture conditions. Nonlinear elastic properties were determined by first developing strain maps from acoustic ultrasound, followed by fitting of nonlinear stress-strain data to a 1-term Ogden model. Testing examined a clinically developed ex vivo produced oral mucosa equivalent (EVPOME). As seeded cells proliferate on an EVPOME surface, they produce a keratinized protective upper layer that fills in and smoothens out surface irregularities. These transformations can also alter the nonlinear stress/strain parameters as EVPOME cells differentiate. This EVPOME behavior is similar to those of natural oral mucosal tissues and in contrast to an unseeded scaffold. If ultrasonic monitoring could be developed, then tissue cultivation could be adjusted in-process to account for biological variations in their development of the stratified cellular layer. In addition to ultrasonic testing, an in-house-built compression system capable of accurate measurements on small (∼1.0-1.5 cm(2)) tissue samples is presented. Results showed a near 2.5-fold difference in the stiffness properties between the unstressed EVPOME and the noncell-seeded acellular scaffold (AlloDerm(®)). There were also 4×greater differences in root mean square values of the thickness in the unseeded AlloDerm compared to the mature unstressed EVPOME; this is a strong indicator for quantifying surface roughness.

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