Salem SA, et al. Tissue Eng Regen Med 2020.
BACKGROUND: The urinary tract can be affected by both congenital abnormalities as well as acquired disorders, such as cancer, trauma, infection, inflammation, and iatrogenic injuries, all of which may lead to organ damage requiring eventual reconstruction. As a gold standard, gastrointestinal segment is used for urinary bladder reconstruction. However, one major problem is that while bladder tissue prevents reabsorption of specific solutes, gastrointestinal tissue actually absorbs them. Therefore, tissue engineering approach had been attempted to provide an alternative tissue graft for urinary bladder reconstruction.
METHODS: Human adipose-derived stem cells isolated from fat tissues were differentiated into smooth muscle cells and then seeded onto a triple-layered PLGA sheet to form a bladder construct. Adult athymic rats underwent subtotal urinary bladder resection and were divided into three treatment groups (n = 3): Group 1 ("sham") underwent anastomosis of the remaining basal region, Group 2 underwent reconstruction with the cell-free scaffold, and Group 3 underwent reconstruction with the tissue-engineered bladder construct. Animals were monitored on a daily basis and euthanisation was performed whenever a decline in animal health was detected.
RESULTS: All animals in Groups 1, 2 and 3 survived for at least 7 days and were followed up to a maximum of 12 weeks post-operation. It was found that by Day 14, substantial ingrowth of smooth muscle and urothelial cells had occurred in Group 2 and 3. In the long-term follow up of group 3 (tissue-engineered bladder construct group), it was found that the urinary bladder wall was completely regenerated and bladder function was fully restored. Urodynamic and radiological evaluations of the reconstructed bladder showed a return to normal bladder volume and function.Histological analysis revealed the presence of three muscular layers and a urothelium similar to that of a normal bladder. Immunohistochemical staining using human-specific myocyte markers (myosin heavy chain and smoothelin) confirmed the incorporation of the seeded cells in the newly regenerated muscular layers.
CONCLUSION: Implantation of PLGA construct seeded with smooth muscle cells derived from human adipose stem cells can lead to regeneration of the muscular layers and urothelial ingrowth, leading to formation of a completely functional urinary bladder.