Comparisons of Auricular Cartilage Tissues from Different Species

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Objectives:Tissue engineering of auricular cartilage has great potential in providing readily available materials for reconstructive surgeries. As the field of tissue engineering moves forward to developing human tissues, there needs to be an interspecies comparison of the native auricular cartilage in order to determine a suitable animal model to assess the performance of engineered auricular cartilage in vivo.Methods:Here, we performed interspecies comparisons of auricular cartilage by comparing tissue microstructure, protein localization, biochemical composition, and mechanical properties of auricular cartilage tissues from rat, rabbit, pig, cow, and human.Results:Human, pig, and cow auricular cartilage have smaller lacunae compared to rat and rabbit cartilage (P < .05). Despite differences in tissue microstructure, human auricular cartilage has similar biochemical composition to both rat and rabbit. Auricular cartilage from pig and cow, alternatively, display significantly higher glycosaminoglycan and collagen contents compared to human, rat, and rabbit (P < .05). The mechanical properties of human auricular cartilage were comparable to that of all 4 animal species.Conclusions:This is the first study that compares the microstructural, biochemical, and mechanical properties of auricular cartilage from different species. This study showed that different experimental animal models of human auricular cartilage may be suitable in different cases.

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