Characterization of pediatric microtia cartilage: a reservoir of chondrocytes for auricular reconstruction using tissue engineering strategies
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The external ear is composed of elastic cartilage. Microtia is a congenital malformation of the external ear that involves a small reduction in size or a complete absence. The aim of tissue engineering is to regenerate tissues and organs clinically implantable based on the utilization of cells and biomaterials. Remnants from microtia represent a source of cells for auricular reconstruction using tissue engineering. To examine the macromolecular architecture of microtia cartilage and behavior of chondrocytes, in order to enrich the knowledge of this type of cartilage as a cell reservoir. Auricular cartilage remnants were obtained from pediatric patients with microtia undergoing reconstructive procedures. Extracellular matrix composition was characterized using immunofluorescence and histological staining methods. Chondrocytes were isolated and expanded in vitro using a mechanical-enzymatic protocol. Chondrocyte phenotype was analyzed using qualitative PCR. Microtia cartilage preserves structural organization similar to healthy elastic cartilage. Extracellular matrix is composed of typical cartilage proteins such as type II collagen, elastin and proteoglycans. Chondrocytes displayed morphological features similar to chondrocytes derived from healthy cartilage, expressing SOX9, COL2 and ELN, thus preserving chondral phenotype. Cell viability was 94.6 % during in vitro expansion. Elastic cartilage from microtia has similar characteristics, both architectural and biochemical to healthy cartilage. We confirmed the suitability of microtia remnant as a reservoir of chondrocytes with potential to be expanded in vitro, maintaining phenotypical features and viability. Microtia remnants are an accessible source of autologous cells for auricular reconstruction using tissue engineering strategies.
KeywordsElastic cartilage Microtia Auricular remnant Tissue engineering Auricular reconstruction
The authors thank to IB Karina Martinez for her technical assistance. This work was supported by Grants CONACYT Sectoriales 114359 and Sectoriales 78798, from Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia, Mexico.
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