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Tissue Eng Part A. 2014 Jan;20(1-2):389-97. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2012.0514. Epub 2013 Oct 12.

Replacement of a tracheal stenosis with a tissue-engineered human trachea using autologous stem cells: a case report.

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  • 11 Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Sahlgrenska University Hospital , University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden .


Cell-based therapies involving tissue engineering represent interesting and potentially important strategies for the treatment of patients with various disorders. In this study, using a detergent-enzymatic method, we prepared an intact three-dimensional scaffold of an extracellular matrix derived from a human cadaver donor trachea, which we repopulated with autologous stem cells and implanted into a 76-year-old patient with tracheal stenosis including the lower part of the larynx. Although the graft provided the patient with an open airway, a week after the surgery, the mucous membrane of the graft was covered by a 1-2 mm thick fungal infection, which was treated with local and systemic antifungal therapy. The airway lumen was postoperatively controlled by fiber endoscopy and found stable and sufficient. However, after 23 days, the patient died due to cardiac arrest but with a patent, open, and stable tracheal transplant and intact anastomoses. Histopathological results of the transplanted tracheal graft during autopsy showed a squamous but not ciliated epithelium, neovascularization, bundles of α-sma-positive muscle cells, serous glands, and nerve fibers with S-100-positive nerve cells in the submucosa and intact chondrocytes in the cartilage. Our findings suggest that although autologous stem cells-engineered tracheal matrices may represent a tool for clinical tracheal replacement, further preclinical studies are required for generating functional airway grafts and long-term effects of such grafts.

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