“UroMaix” scaffolds: Novel collagen matrices for application in tissue engineering of the urinary tract

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Reconstruction of bladder and ureter tissue is indicated in cases of injury, stenosis, infection or tumor. Substitution by ileum, colon or pure synthetic polymers generates a variety of complications. Biohybrid tissue mimicking structural and functional attributes of the multilayered wall architecture of the urinary conduit may be the solution to current problems.

This study reports on porcine urinary tract cells isolated and placed on UroMaix matrices with different degrees of cross-linking produced from highly purified type I collagen from medically approved porcine tissue. A patented procedure revealed membrane structures composed of a dense fibrous side and an open fibrous side. These scaffolds with the porcine urinary tract cells were incubated in a batch culture system for up to 14 days. Cell growth and topographical orientation were examined.

Urothelial cells showed maximum attachment and a significant increase of living cells on the dense fiber layer of UroMaix-1. No attachment of urothelial cells occurred on the other prototypes. Smooth muscle cells showed similar behavior within the open fiber layer of all UroMaix matrices. Both urothelial and smooth muscle cells retained their phenotypes as demonstrated by the immunostaining of epithelial cytokeratin 18 and the smooth muscle myosin heavy chain respectively. Thus we could show that UroMaix scaffolds support the attachment and proliferation of urinary tract cells. The elastomeric properties of the collagenous matrices promise attractive applications in the tissue engineering of the urinary tract with its high mechanical demands. (Int J Artif Organs 2006; 29: 764–71)

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