Objective: Tissue engineering may provide new operative tools for colorectal surgery in elective indications. The aim of this study was to define a suitable bioscaffold for colorectal tissue engineering.
Methods: We compared 2 bioscaffolds with in vitro and in vivo experiments: porcine small intestinal submucosa (SIS) versus chitosan hydrogel matrix. We assessed nontoxicity of the scaffold in vitro by using human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSC). In vivo, a 1 × 2-cm colonic wall defect was created in 16 rabbits. Animals were divided randomly into 2 groups according to the graft used, SIS or chitosan hydrogel. Graft area was explanted at 4 and 8 weeks. The end points of in vivo experiments were technical feasibility, behavior of the scaffold, in situ putative inflammatory effect, and the quality of tissue regeneration, in particular smooth muscle layer regeneration.
Results: In vitro, hADSC attachment and proliferation occurred on both scaffolds without a substantial difference. After proliferation, hADSCs kept their mesenchymal stem cell characteristics. In vivo, one animal died in each group. Eight weeks after implantation, the chitosan scaffold allowed better wound healing compared with the SIS scaffold, with more effective control of inflammatory activity and an integral regeneration of the colonic wall including the smooth muscle cell layer.
Conclusion: The outcomes of in vitro experiments did not differ greatly between the 2 groups. Macroscopic and histologic findings, however, revealed better wound healing of the colonic wall in the chitosan group suggesting that the chitosan hydrogel could serve as a better scaffold for colorectal tissue engineering.
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