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Tissue Eng Part A. 2013 Dec;19(23-24):2615-25. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2013.0071. Epub 2013 Aug 21.

Macrophages play a key role in angiogenesis and adipogenesis in a mouse tissue engineering model.

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1 O'Brien Institute Melbourne , Fitzroy, Australia .


We have previously described a mouse adipose tissue engineering model using a silicon chamber enclosing the superficial epigastric pedicle in a Matrigel based environment. We have shown that when Zymosan, a sterile inflammatory agent, is added to the chamber, angiogenesis and adipogenesis are significantly improved. As Zymosan interacts with toll-like receptors on macrophages, the role of macrophages in new tissue development in the tissue engineering chamber was assessed. Morphological and histological results showed that macrophages were presenting in high numbers at 2 weeks but had decreased significantly by 4 and 6 weeks in the chamber. Numerous immature new blood vessels had formed by 2 weeks, becoming more mature at 4 and 6 weeks. Immature adipocytes were visualized at 4 weeks and mature cells, at 6 weeks. To investigate the functional role of macrophages in the tissue engineering process, we knocked out the local macrophage population by inserting Clodronate liposomes in this chamber. This study shows for the first time that when macrophages are depleted, there is minimal new vascular and adipose tissue development. We propose a new theory for tissue engineering in which macrophages play a central role in both neovascularisation and adipogenesis.

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