Rabbit urethra replacement with a defined biomatrix or small intestinal submucosa.
SourceEuropean Urology, 44, 2, (2003), pp. 266-271
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectUMCN 4.3: Tissue engineering and reconstructive surgery
OBJECTIVE: The evaluation of collagen-based biomatrix (SIS COOK((R))) in comparison to a biochemically reconstructed biomatrix for replacement of the urethra in a rabbit model as a preclinical model. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Rabbits underwent partial urethra replacement (resection of 0.5 to 1.0 cm segment of the urethra), which was replaced with 1 or 4 layers Small Intestinal Submucosa (SIS COOK) patch grafts or with a biochemically defined collagen biomatrix, partly sutured with unresolvable sutures for future reference. Six animals underwent a sham control operation. The grafts of regenerated urethras were harvested at 1, 3 and 9 months after implantation. Urethrography was performed pre-operatively and before sacrificing. The animals were evaluated macroscopically and by routine histology and immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: At 1 month after implantation, the biomatrices (1 layer, 4 layers and our biochemically defined biomatrix) were well distinguishable from the normal surrounding tissues and showed blood vessels at the periphery. Macroscopically, the unresolvable reference sutures were easy to find at all time points. At 3 months the graft was still distinguishable in the 4 layers SIS group. In the 1 layer and the defined biomatrix group a good regeneration of the urethra within the graft was seen with some central fibrosis. Histological and immunohistochemical evaluation showed urothelium regeneration on the 1 layer and on biochemically defined biomatrix with decreasing number of inflammatory cells from 1 month on. In the group treated with 4 layers SIS the urothelium was completely regenerated at 3 months. Histologically, the regeneration of muscle cells in the three biomatrices was comparable. The smooth muscle cells regenerated very slowly as 1 month after implantation no muscle cells were detectable within the grafts. At 3 months a few muscle cells were present in the graft, but cell density did not increase in the following 6 months. Strictures were not observed on control urethrography pre-operatively in the animals. In one case slight narrowing of the urethra on urethrography was seen, but apparently without causing voiding problems. One rabbit developed a fistula near the operation site. CONCLUSION: The biomatrices investigated are feasible scaffolds to repair urethral lesions. The results with our biochemically defined biomatrix are comparable to one layer Small Intestinal Submucosa. Almost no smooth muscle cells population was observed after nine months for the three biomatrices. We conclude that an improved molecularly defined biomatrix focussed on stimulation of smooth muscle cell growth may be necessary to obtain optimal cellular grafting results.
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