Tissue engineering a fetal membrane

Tissue Eng Part A. 2012 Feb;18(3-4):373-81. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2011.0194. Epub 2011 Oct 24.


The aim of this study was to construct an artificial fetal membrane (FM) by combination of human amniotic epithelial stem cells (hAESCs) and a mechanically enhanced collagen scaffold containing encapsulated human amniotic stromal fibroblasts (hASFs). Such a tissue-engineered FM may have the potential to plug structural defects in the amniotic sac after antenatal interventions, or to prevent preterm premature rupture of the FM. The hAESCs and hASFs were isolated from human fetal amniotic membrane (AM). Magnetic cell sorting was used to enrich the hAESCs by positive ATP-binding cassette G2 selection. We investigated the use of a laminin/fibronectin (1:1)-coated compressed collagen gel as a novel scaffold to support the growth of hAESCs. A type I collagen gel was dehydrated to form a material mimicking the mechanical properties and ultra-structure of human AM. hAESCs successfully adhered to and formed a monolayer upon the biomimetic collagen scaffold. The resulting artificial membrane shared a high degree of similarity in cell morphology, protein expression profiles, and structure to normal fetal AM. This study provides the first line of evidence that a compacted collagen gel containing hASFs could adequately support hAESCs adhesion and differentiation to a degree that is comparable to the normal human fetal AM in terms of structure and maintenance of cell phenotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Shape / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Collagen / pharmacology
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / ultrastructure
  • Extraembryonic Membranes / cytology
  • Extraembryonic Membranes / drug effects
  • Extraembryonic Membranes / physiology*
  • Extraembryonic Membranes / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Magnetics
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rheology / drug effects
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Stem Cells / ultrastructure
  • Stromal Cells / cytology
  • Stromal Cells / drug effects
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry


  • Biomarkers
  • Gels
  • Collagen