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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 6;108(36):14789-94. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1017825108. Epub 2011 Aug 30.

Improved vascular organization enhances functional integration of engineered skeletal muscle grafts.

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  • 1Biomedical Engineering Faculty, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jan 24;109(4):1353. Yulia, Shandalov [corrected to Shandalov, Yulia]; Dana, Egozi [corrected to Egozi, Dana]; Daria, Amiad Pavlov [corrected to Pavlov, Daria Amiad].


Severe traumatic events such as burns, and cancer therapy, often involve a significant loss of tissue, requiring surgical reconstruction by means of autologous muscle flaps. The scant availability of quality vascularized flaps and donor site morbidity often limit their use. Engineered vascularized grafts provide an alternative for this need. This work describes a first-time analysis, of the degree of in vitro vascularization and tissue organization, required to enhance the pace and efficacy of vascularized muscle graft integration in vivo. While one-day in vitro was sufficient for graft integration, a three-week culturing period, yielding semiorganized vessel structures and muscle fibers, significantly improved grafting efficacy. Implanted vessel networks were gradually replaced by host vessels, coupled with enhanced perfusion and capillary density. Upregulation of key graft angiogenic factors suggest its active role in promoting the angiogenic response. Transition from satellite cells to mature fibers was indicated by increased gene expression, increased capillary to fiber ratio, and similar morphology to normal muscle. We suggest a "relay" approach in which extended in vitro incubation, enabling the formation of a more structured vascular bed, allows for graft-host angiogenic collaboration that promotes anastomosis and vascular integration. The enhanced angiogenic response supports enhanced muscle regeneration, maturation, and integration.

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