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Host-integration of a tissue-engineered airway patch: Two-year follow-up in a single patient

: Steinke, Maria; Dally, Iris; Friedel, Godehard; Walles, Heike; Walles, Thorsten


Tissue Engineering. Part A 21 (2015), No.3-4, pp.573-579
ISSN: 1937-3341
ISSN: 1937-335X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IGB ()

Different bioengineering techniques have been applied repeatedly for the reconstruction of extensive airway defects in the last few years. While short-term surgical success is evident, there is a lack of long-term results in patients. Here, we report the case of a young male who received a 5×2cm bioartificial airway patch for tracheoesophageal reconstruction focusing on clinical defect healing and histomorphological tissue reorganization 2.5 years after surgery. We generated bioartificial airway tissue using a cell-free biological vascularized scaffold that was re-endothelialized and reseeded with the recipient's autologous primary cells and we implanted it into the recipient's left main bronchus. To investigate host-integration 2.5 years after the implantation, we obtained biopsies of the implant and adjacent tracheal tissue and processed these for histological and immunohistochemical analyses. The early postoperative course was uneventful and the transplanted airway t issue was integrated into the host. 2.5 years after transplantation, a bronchoscopy confirmed the scar-free reconstruction of the former airway defect. Histological work-up documented respiratory airway mucosa lining the bronchial reconstruction, making it indistinguishable from native airway mucosa. After transplantation, our bioartificial airway tissue provided perfect airway healing, with no histological evidence of tissue dedifferentiation.