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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010 Aug;299(2):G430-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00269.2009. Epub 2010 Jun 17.

Successful implantation of physiologically functional bioengineered mouse internal anal sphincter.

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Department of Pediatrics-Gastroenterology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, 48109-0658, USA.


We have previously developed bioengineered three-dimensional internal anal sphincter (IAS) rings from circular smooth muscle cells isolated from rabbit and human IAS. We provide proof of concept that bioengineered mouse IAS rings are neovascularized upon implantation into mice of the same strain and maintain concentric smooth muscle alignment, phenotype, and IAS functionality. Rings were bioengineered by using smooth muscle cells from the IAS of C57BL/6J mice. Bioengineered mouse IAS rings were implanted subcutaneously on the dorsum of C57BL/6J mice along with a microosmotic pump delivering fibroblast growth factor-2. The mice remained healthy during the period of implantation, showing no external signs of rejection. Mice were killed 28 days postsurgery and implanted IAS rings were harvested. IAS rings showed muscle attachment, neovascularization, healthy color, and no external signs of infection or inflammation. Assessment of force generation on harvested IAS rings showed the following: 1) spontaneous basal tone was generated in the absence of external stimulation; 2) basal tone was relaxed by vasoactive intestinal peptide, nitric oxide donor, and nifedipine; 3) acetylcholine and phorbol dibutyrate elicited rapid-rising, dose-dependent, sustained contractions repeatedly over 30 min without signs of muscle fatigue; and 4) magnitudes of potassium chloride-induced contractions were 100% of peak maximal agonist-induced contractions. Our preliminary results confirm the proof of concept that bioengineered rings are neovascularized upon implantation. Harvested rings maintain smooth muscle alignment and phenotype. Our physiological studies confirm that implanted rings maintain 1) overall IAS physiology and develop basal tone, 2) integrity of membrane ionic characteristics, and 3) integrity of membrane associated intracellular signaling transduction pathways for contraction and relaxation by responding to cholinergic, nitrergic, and VIP-ergic stimulation. IAS smooth muscle tissue could thus be bioengineered for the purpose of implantation to serve as a potential graft therapy for dysfunctional internal anal sphincter in fecal incontinence.

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