Reconstruction of Anterior Tracheal Defects Using a Bioengineered Graft in a Porcine Model

Adnan M. Al-Ayoubi, Sadiq S. Rehmani, Catherine F. Sinclair, Robert S. Lebovics, Faiz Y. Bhora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background Reconstruction of long-segment tracheal defects can be challenging and a suitable tracheal substitute remains lacking. We sought to create a bioengineered tracheal graft to repair such lesions using acellullar bovine dermis extracellular matrix (ECM) and male human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and implant it in a porcine model. Methods hMSCs were seeded on the ECM and incubated for 1 week with chondrogenic factors. An anterior 4 cm × 3 cm defect was surgically created in the trachea of 4-week-old female Yorkshire pigs. The defect was reconstructed using the bioengineered graft (n = 7) or control (n = 3, ECM only). The study duration was 3 months. Results Survival ranged from 7 days (n = 3) to 3 months (n = 7). Early death was due to graft malacia (n = 1, control), graft infection (n = 1, bioengineered), and pneumonia (n = 1, bioengineered). There was substantial animal growth at 3 months (>200% weight). Surveillance bronchoscopy showed patent airway, mild stenosis, and integration of the graft with the native trachea. On histology, luminal epithelialization and neovascularization with scant submucosa were observed in both the bioengineered graft and control groups. Chondrogenesis was seen only in the bioengineered graft. The neocartilage was less mature and organized compared to native cartilage. SRY immunostain was positive in the neocartilage but not control or native trachea. Conclusions We demonstrate the feasibility of the bioengineered graft for reconstruction of long anterior tracheal defects with favorable short-term outcomes. Furthermore, we show its ability to facilitate chondrogenesis, neovascularization, and epithelialization. Importantly, it supported rapid animal growth offering potential solutions for both pediatric and adult applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-389
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


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