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Transplantation. 1999 Jan 27;67(2):241-5.

Successful anastomosis between tissue-engineered intestine and native small bowel.

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Department of Surgery, Children's Hospital & Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.



Previous work from this laboratory has shown that isolated intestinal epithelial organoid units on porous biodegradable polymer scaffolds formed vascularized cysts lined by a neomucosa. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate anastomosis between tissue-engineered intestine and the native small bowel and to observe the effect of this anastomosis on cyst growth.


Intestinal epithelial organoid units from neonatal Lewis rats were seeded onto porous biodegradable polymer tubes made of polyglycolic acid, and they were implanted into the omentum of adult male Lewis rats. Three weeks after implantation, the unit-polymer constructs were anastomosed in a side-to-side fashion to the native jejunum in 20 rats (group 1). The other 18 rats were closed without anastomosis (group 2). All 38 tissue-engineered constructs were harvested 10 weeks after implantation. Four rats underwent upper gastrointestinal (GI) study before they were killed.


The rats in group 1 increased their body weights equal to those in group 2, and there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups. Upper GI examinations revealed no evidence of either bowel stenosis or obstruction at the anastomotic site. Grossly, the patency of the anastomosis was 90% and the lumen of the cyst was visualized by the upper GI study. At the second operation, there was no significant difference in the size of the cysts in either group: however, at the time the rats were killed, the length of the cysts in group 1 was significantly longer than that in group 2 (P<0.05 using Mann-Whitney U test). Histological examination showed that cysts after anastomosis were lined by a neomucosa in continuity to native small bowel across the anastomotic site and also demonstrated crypt-villus structures. Morphometric study demonstrated that cysts in group 1 had significantly greater villus number, height, and surface length than did those in group 2.


Anastomosis between tissue-engineered intestine and native small bowel resulted in no complications after the operation, kept a high patency rate, and maintained mucosal continuity between the tissue-engineered intestine and native small bowel. Furthermore, anastomosis had a positive effect on cyst size and development of the mucosa in the tissue-engineered intestine.

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