The production of engineered tissues is an emerging field which holds promise to improve current medical therapies.
Reconstruction of surgical defects in airway mucosal lumen is necessary in patients having sinonasal or tracheal tumors after removal of primary lesion.
Skin has been the most widely used materials to reconstruct the luminal side of the airway. However, there are well-known problems with the use of skin as a substrate for the ciliated columnar epithelium that normally lines the airway. These problems include construction of the graft, desquamation, the re-growth of hair, and an unpleasant odor.
The investigators led by MD. Joo-Heon, Yoon, have found that airway epithelial cells can differentiate into squamous epithelium under culture conditions and the cultured autologous squamous epithelial could be successfully used to reconstruct mucosal lumen of the airway.
The cultured autologous squamous epithelium, which differentiates into mucociliary epithelium after in vivo grafting, are remarkably effective in airway luminal reconstruction.
Since autologous nasal epithelial cells are used for the cell sheet graft, no obvious immune response or host rejection is occurred at the mucosa. The risk of contamination with animal cells when applying the epithelial cell sheets is eliminated because carrier-free nasal squamous epithelial cell sheets are employed instead of animal feeder cells such as 3T3 cells for culturing human cells. It does not cause sever crust formation or mucus stagnation. There is no obvious limitation in terms of the size and number of epithelial cell sheets that can be produced with our method.