A new era: endoscopic tissue transplantation

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Purpose of review

To describe basic principles of tissue engineering with emphasis on the potential role of gastrointestinal endoscopy in regenerative medicine.

Recent findings

Stricturing associated with endoscopic submucosal resection and circumferential endoscopic mucosal resection can be prevented through transplantation of autologous epidermal cell sheets or seeded decellularized biological scaffolds. Lower esophageal sphincter augmentation through injection of muscle-derived cells is a novel potential treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Stem cell derived tissue has been used to repair injured colon in a mouse model of colitis. A bioengineered internal anal sphincter has been successfully implanted in mice and showed preserved functionality.


The immediate foreseeable application of tissue engineering in gastrointestinal endoscopy is in the field of mucosal repair after acute injury. Tissue regeneration can be achieved through expansion of autologous somatic cells or by induction of multipotent or pluripotent stem cells. Advances in cellular scaffolding have made bioengineering of complex tissues a reality. Tissue engineering in endoscopy is also being pioneered by studies looking at enteral sphincter augmentation and regeneration. The availability of engineered tissue for endoscopic application will increase with advances in cell-culturing techniques.

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