Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have the potential to mature into virtually any type of cell and tissue type, but they require an appropriate environment and chemical signals to drive their differentiation into specific cell types and to form 3-dimensional tissue structures. Alternatives to available synthetic tissue matrices are needed to drive this technology forward and develop clinical applications for engineered lung tissue.
Joaquin Cortiella, MD, MPH, and colleagues from University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston), Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA), Brown Medical School (Providence, RI), and Duke University (Durham, NC), describe the first attempt to make acellular rat lung and use it as a biological matrix for differentiating ESCs into lung tissue. The authors present evidence of improved cell retention, repopulation of the matrix, and differentiation into the cell types present in healthy lung. They also report signs that the cells are organizing into the 3-D structures characteristic of complex tissues and are producing the chemical signals and growth factors that guide lung tissue function and development.
Cortiella and coauthors describe the process used to remove the cellular component of natural lung tissue and create a growth matrix for ESCs in the article, "Influence of Acellular Natural Lung Matrix on Murine Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation and Tissue Formation."
"Organ-specific extracellular matrices, properly prepared, are serving more and more as the appropriate structural scaffold for the recapitulation of a specific organ's tissues. This turns out to be especially true in an organ such as the lung, whose parenchyma must have a structure that accommodates atmospheric gas transmission as well as vascular, lymphatic, and neural systems," says Peter C. Johnson, MD, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Tissue Engineering and Vice President, Research and Development, Avery Dennison Medical Products.
Tissue Engineering is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published monthly in print and online in three parts: Part A—the flagship journal; Part B—Reviews; and Part C—Methods. Led by Co-Editors-In-Chief Dr. Antonios Mikos, Louis Calder Professor at Rice University, Houston, TX, and Peter C. Johnson, MD, the Journal brings together scientific and medical experts in the fields of biomedical engineering, material science, molecular and cellular biology, and genetic engineering. Tissue Engineering is the Official Journal of the Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS). Tables of content and a free sample issue may be viewed online at www.liebertpub.com/ten
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