Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 679–687 | Cite as

Fibrin Gel as Alternative Scaffold for Respiratory Tissue Engineering

  • Christian G. Cornelissen
  • Maren Dietrich
  • Stefan Krüger
  • Jan Spillner
  • Thomas Schmitz-Rode
  • Stefan JockenhoevelEmail author


Fibrin gel has proven a valuable scaffold for tissue engineering. Complex geometries can be produced by injection molding; it offers effective cell seeding and can be produced autologous. In order to evaluate its suitability for respiratory tissue engineering, we examined proliferation, functionality, and differentiation of respiratory epithelial cells on fibrin gel in comparison to culture on collagen-coated, microporous membranes. Respiratory epithelial cells formed a confluent layer by day 4, and proliferation showed no significant difference with respect to surface. Measurement of the transepithelial electrical resistance reflected the development of a confluent epithelial cell layer and the subsequent initiation of adequate ion-transfer processes. Appearance of ciliae could be detected at similar time points, and ciliary beating could be observed for cells on both surfaces. Histology and immunohistochemistry of cells grown on fibrin gel revealed the onset of adequate differentiation. As no significant differences in respiratory epithelial cells’ proliferation, function, and differentiation could be observed between cells grown on fibrin gel compared to cells on a collagen-coated, microporous surface, we concluded that fibrin gel might prove a suitable scaffold for respiratory tissue engineering and merits further investigation to overcome the limitations associated with scaffolds currently in use.


Respiratory epithelium Ciliary function Transepithelial electrical resistance Culture conditions Airway prosthesis 



This study was supported by a grant from the START program of the Medical Faculty of the RWTH Aachen University.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing financial or other interests.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (AVI 15588 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (AVI 29199 kb)


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian G. Cornelissen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maren Dietrich
    • 1
  • Stefan Krüger
    • 2
  • Jan Spillner
    • 3
  • Thomas Schmitz-Rode
    • 1
  • Stefan Jockenhoevel
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Tissue Engineering & Textile Implants, Institute for Applied Medical EngineeringHelmholtz Institute of the RWTH University HospitalAachenGermany
  2. 2.Department for Internal Medicine—Section for PneumologyUniversity Hospital AachenAachenGermany
  3. 3.Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular SurgeryUniversity Hospital AachenAachenGermany

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