Treatment of esophageal disease can necessitate resection and reconstruction of the esophagus. Current reconstruction approaches are limited to utilization of an autologous conduit such as stomach, small bowel, or colon. A tissue engineered construct providing an alternative for esophageal replacement in circumferential, full thickness resection would have significant clinical applications. In the current study, we demonstrate that regeneration of esophageal tissue is feasible and reproducible in a large animal model using synthetic polyurethane electro-spun grafts seeded with autologous adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (aMSCs) and a disposable bioreactor. The scaffolds were not incorporated into the regrown esophageal tissue and were retrieved endoscopically. Animals underwent adipose tissue biopsy to harvest and expand autologous aMSCs for seeding on electro-spun polyurethane conduits in a bioreactor. Anesthetized pigs underwent full thickness circumferential resection of the mid-lower thoracic esophagus followed by implantation of the cell seeded scaffold. Results from these animals showed gradual structural regrowth of endogenous esophageal tissue, including squamous esophageal mucosa, submucosa, and smooth muscle layers with blood vessel formation. Scaffolds carrying autologous adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells may provide an alternative to the use of a gastro-intestinal conduit for some patients following resection of the esophagus.
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