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Open Access Evaluation of the Use of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) for the Regeneration of Tracheal Cartilage

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The treatment of laryngotracheal stenosis remains a challenge as treatment often requires multistaged procedures, and successful decannulation sometimes fails after a series of operations. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) were generated in 2006. These cells are capable of unlimited symmetrical self-renewal, thus providing an unlimited cell source for tissue-engineering applications. We have previously reported tracheal wall regeneration using a three-dimensional (3D) scaffold containing iPSCs. However, the efficiency of differentiation into cartilage was low. In addition, it could not be proven that the cartilage tissues were in fact derived from the implanted iPSCs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and improve the use of iPSCs for the regeneration of tracheal cartilage. iPSCs were cultured in vitro in a 3D scaffold in chondrocyte differentiation medium. After cultivation, differentiation into chondrocytes was examined. The ratio of undifferentiated cells was analyzed by flow cytometry. The 3D scaffolds were implanted into tracheal defects, as an injury site, in 24 nude rats. Differentiation into chondrocytes in vitro was confirmed histologically, phenotypically, and genetically. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated that the population of undifferentiated cells was decreased. Cartilage tissue was observed in the regenerated tracheal wall in 6 of 11 rats implanted with induced iPSCs, but in none of 13 rats implanted with the control and noninduced iPSCs. The expression of cartilage-specific protein was also demonstrated in vivo in 3D scaffolds containing iPSCs. The presence of the GFP gene derived from iPSCs was confirmed in samples of cartilage tissue by the combination of laser microdissection (LMD) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques. Our study demonstrated that iPSCs have the potential to differentiate into chondrogenic cells in vitro. Cartilage tissue was regenerated in vivo. Our results suggest that iPSCs could be a new cell source for the regeneration of tracheal cartilage.

Keywords: Bioengineered 3D scaffold; Chondrogenesis; Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs); Regeneration; Tumor formation; Undifferentiated cells

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Otolaryngology, School of Medicine, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima City, Japan

Publication date: 2013-02-01

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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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