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The Use of Extracellular Matrix as an Inductive Scaffold for the Partial Replacement of Functional Myocardium

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Regenerative medicine approaches for the treatment of damaged or missing myocardial tissue include cell-based therapies, scaffold-based therapies, and/or the use of specific growth factors and cytokines. The present study evaluated the ability of extracellular matrix (ECM) derived from porcine urinary bladder to serve as an inductive scaffold for myocardial repair. ECM scaffolds have been shown to support constructive remodeling of other tissue types including the lower urinary tract, the dermis, the esophagus, and dura mater by mechanisms that include the recruitment of bone marrow-derived progenitor cells, angiogenesis, and the generation of bioactive molecules that result from degradation of the ECM. ECM derived from the urinary bladder matrix, identified as UBM, was configured as a single layer sheet and used as a biologic scaffold for a surgically created 2 cm2 full-thickness defect in the right ventricular free wall. Sixteen dogs were divided into two equal groups of eight each. The defect in one group was repaired with a UBM scaffold and the defect in the second group was repaired with a Dacron patch. Each group was divided into two equal subgroups (n = 4), one of which was sacrificed 15 min after surgical repair and the other of which was sacrificed after 8 weeks. Global right ventricular contractility was similar in all four subgroups groups at the time of sacrifice. However, 8 weeks after implantation the UBM-treated defect area showed significantly greater (p < 0.05) regional systolic contraction compared to the myocardial defects repaired with by Dacron (3.3 ± 1.3% vs. −1.8 ± 1.1%; respectively). Unlike the Dacron-repaired region, the UBM-repaired region showed an increase in systolic contraction over the 8-week implantation period (−4.2 ± 1.7% at the time of implantation vs. 3.3 ± 1.3% at 8 weeks). Histological analysis showed the expected fibrotic reaction surrounding the embedded Dacron material with no evidence for myocardial regeneration. Histologic examination of the UBM scaffold site showed cardiomyocytes accounting for approximately 30% of the remodeled tissue. The cardiomyocytes were arranged in an apparently randomly dispersed pattern throughout the entire tissue specimen and stained positive for α- sarcomeric actinin and Connexin 43. The thickness of the UBM graft site increased greatly from the time of implantation to the 8-week sacrifice time point when it was approximately the thickness of the normal right ventricular wall. Histologic examination suggested complete degradation of the originally implanted ECM scaffold and replacement by host tissues. We conclude that UBM facilitates a constructive remodeling of myocardial tissue when used as replacement scaffold for excisional defects.

Keywords: Bioscaffold; Extracellular matrix; Myocardium; Regenerative medicine; Tissue engineering; Urinary bladder matrix

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA 2: Department of Surgery, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA 3: Department of Physiology & Biophysics and the Institute of Molecular Cardiology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA 4: Department of Surgery, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA 5: Department of Biomedical Engineering, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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