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ASAIO J. 1994 Jul-Sep;40(3):M389-92.

An artificial esophagus consisting of cultured human esophageal epithelial cells, polyglycolic acid mesh, and collagen.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan.


Previously, the authors successfully grafted collagen sheets covered with cultured human esophageal epithelial cells onto latissimus dorsi muscles of athymic mice. To make a tubular artificial esophagus they developed a polyglycolic acid mesh-collagen complex tube whose inner side was epithelialized in vitro by cultured human esophageal epithelial cells. Human esophageal epithelial cells were isolated from normal mucosa resected from specimens of esophageal cancer patients and cultured on the surface of the collagen gel in which polyglycolic acid mesh was embedded. After the culture reached confluence, polyglycolic acid mesh was sutured to create a tubular form lined with cultured cell layers (restructured mucosal tube). Such tubes were wrapped in the latissimus dorsi muscle flaps of athymic rats using a fibrin glue. The animals were killed 4, 8, 20, and 28 days after grafting and the grafted tubes were studied histologically. Up to 28 days after grafting, the luminal structure was maintained without structure. Eight days after grafting, rat fibroblasts infiltrated from the muscle and neovascularization appeared in the collagen layer. The grafted epithelium remained healthy and grew to 15 cell layers by 20 days, much like normal human esophageal epithelium. Staining by anti-laminin monoclonal antibody confirmed a basement membrane.

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