An ectopic approach for engineering a vascularized tracheal substitute

Chung Kan Tsao, Chao Yin Ko, Shu Rui Yang, Chin Yu Yang, Eric M. Brey, Simon Huang, I. Ming Chu, Ming Huei Cheng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

35 Scopus citations


Tissue engineering can provide alternatives to current methods for tracheal reconstruction. Here we describe an approach for ectopic engineering of vascularized trachea based on the implantation of co-cultured scaffolds surrounded by a muscle flap. Poly(L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) or poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) scaffolds were seeded with chondrocytes, bone marrow stem cells and co-cultured both cells respectively (8 groups), wrapped in a pedicled muscle flap, placed as an ectopic culture on the abdominal wall of rabbits ( n=24), and harvested after two and four weeks. Analysis of the biochemical and mechanical properties demonstrated that the PCL scaffold with co-culture cells seeding displayed the optimal chondrogenesis with adequate rigidity to maintain the cylindrical shape and luminal patency. Histological analysis confirmed that cartilage formed in the co-culture groups contained a more homogeneous and higher extracellular matrix content. The luminal surfaces appeared to support adequate epithelialization due to the formation of vascularized capsular tissue. A prefabricated neo-trachea was transferred to the defect as a tracheal replacement and yielded satisfactory results. These encouraging results indicate that our co-culture approach may enable the development of a clinically applicable neo-trachea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-1175
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - 01 2014


  • Bone marrow stem cell
  • Cartilage
  • Co-culture
  • Poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL)
  • Poly-lactic-glycolic acid (PLGA)
  • Trachea


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