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J Pediatr Surg. 1998 Jul;33(7):991-6; discussion 996-7.

Studies of brush border enzymes, basement membrane components, and electrophysiology of tissue-engineered neointestine.

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Department of Surgery, Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.



Previous studies have shown that intestinal crypt cell transplantation using biodegradable scaffolds can generate stratified epithelium reminiscent of embryonic gut. The authors propose to tissue engineer small intestine on biodegradable scaffolds by transplanting intestinal epithelial organoid units, which maintain the epithelial mesenchymal cell-cell interaction necessary for epithelial survival, proliferation, and differentiation.


Intestinal epithelial organoid units were isolated from neonatal Lewis rats by enzyme digestion and differential sedimentation. Organoid units were seeded on to tubular scaffolds made of nonwoven polyglycolic acid (PGA) sprayed with 5% polylactic acid (PLA). Polymers either were coated (28 constructs) or noncoated (33 constructs) with collagen type I. A total of 61 organoid unit polymer constructs were implanted into 61 animals. Animals were killed and constructs harvested at 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, and 14 weeks.


Histological analysis showed formation of neomucosa characterized by columnar epithelium with goblet, and paneth cells were evident in 47 of the 61 constructs. The outer walls were composed of fibrovascular tissue, degradable polymer, extracellular matrix, and smooth muscle-like cells. Immunofluorescent microscopy showed apical staining of brush border enzymes, sucrase and lactase, and basolateral staining for laminin, indicating the establishment of cell polarity. Electrophysiology of Ussing-chambered neomucosa and adult ileal mucosa exhibited similar transepithelial resistance.


These results suggest that intestinal crypt cells heterotopically transplanted as epithelial organoid units on PGA-PLA tubular scaffolds can survive, reorganize, and regenerate complex composite tissue resembling small intestine demonstrating organ morphogenesis, cytodifferentiation, and phenotypic maturation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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