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Publication Detail
SIS/aligned fibre scaffold designed to meet layered oesophageal tissue complexity and properties.
With donor organs not readily available, the need for a tissue-engineered oesophagus remains high, particularly for congenital childhood conditions such as atresia. Previous attempts have not been successful, and challenges remain. Small intestine submucosa (SIS) is an acellular matrix material with good biological properties; however, as is common with these types of materials, they demonstrate poor mechanical properties. In this work, electrospinning was performed to mechanically reinforce tubular SIS with polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) nanofibers. It was hypothesised that if attachment could be achieved between the two materials, then this would (i) improve the SIS mechanical properties, (ii) facilitate smooth muscle cell alignment to support directional growth of muscle cells and (iii) allow for the delivery of bioactive molecules (VEGF in this instance). Through a relatively simple multistage process, adhesion between the layers was achieved without chemically altering the SIS. It was also found that altering mandrel rotation speed affected the alignment of the PLGA nanofibers. SIS-PLGA scaffolds performed mechanically better than SIS alone; yield stress improvement was 200% and 400% along the longitudinal and circumferential directions, respectively. Smooth muscle cells cultured on the aligned fibres showed resultant unidirectional alignment. In vivo the SIS-PLGA scaffolds demonstrated limited foreign body reaction judged by the type and proportion of immune cells present and lack of fibrous encapsulation. The scaffolds remained intact at 4 weeks in vivo, and good cellular infiltration was observed. The incorporation of VEGF within SIS-PLGA scaffolds increased the blood vessel density of the surrounding tissues, highlighting the possible stimulation of endothelialisation by angiogenic factor delivery. Overall, the designed SIS-PLGA-VEGF hybrid scaffolds might be used as a potential matrix platform for oesophageal tissue engineering. In addition to this, achieving improved attachment between layers of acellular matrix materials and electrospun fibre layers offers the potential utility in other applications. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Because of its multi-layered nature and complex structure, the oesophagus tissue poses several challenges for successful clinical grafting. Therefore, it is promising to utilise tissue engineering strategies to mimic and form structural compartments for its recovery. In this context, we investigated the use of tubular small intestine submucosa (SIS) reinforced with polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) nanofibres by using electrospinning and also, amongst other parameters, the integrity of the bilayered structure created. This was carried out to facilitate smooth muscle cell alignment, support directional growth of muscle cells and allow the delivery of bioactive molecules (VEGF in this study). We evaluated this approach by using in vitro and in vivo models to determine the efficacy of this new system.
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