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Tissue Eng Part A. 2011 Apr;17(7-8):1099-110. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2010.0390. Epub 2011 Jan 31.

A tissue engineering approach for prenatal closure of myelomeningocele: comparison of gelatin sponge and microsphere scaffolds and bioactive protein coatings.

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  • 1Department of Surgery and Children's Center for Fetal Research, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4318, USA.


Myelomeningocele (MMC) is a common and devastating malformation. As an alternative to fetal surgical repair, tissue engineering has the potential to provide a less invasive approach for tissue coverage applicable at an earlier stage of gestation. We have previously evaluated the use of gelatin hydrogel composites composed of gelatin sponges and sheets as a platform for tissue coverage of the MMC defect in the retinoic acid induced fetal rat model of MMC. In the current study, we compare our previous composite with gelatin microspheres as a scaffold for tissue ingrowth and cellular adhesion within the amniotic fluid environment. We also examine the relative efficacy of various bioactive protein coatings on the adhesion of amniotic fluid cells to the construct within the amniotic cavity. We conclude from this study that gelatin microspheres are as effective as gelatin sponges as a scaffold for cellular ingrowth and amniotic fluid cell adhesion and that collagen type I and fibronectin coatings enhance amniotic fluid cell adhesion to the gelatin-based scaffolds. These findings support the potential for the development of a tissue-engineered injectable scaffold that could be applied by ultrasound-guided injection, much earlier and less invasively than sponge or sheet-based composites.

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