Optimizing seeding and culture methods to engineer smooth muscle tissue on biodegradable polymer matrices

Date Published:

1998 Jan 05


The engineering of functional smooth muscle (SM) tissue is critical if one hopes to successfully replace the large number of tissues containing an SM component with engineered equivalents. This study reports on the effects of SM cell (SMC) seeding and culture conditions on the cellularity and composition of SM tissues engineered using biodegradable matrices (5 x 5 mm, 2-mm thick) of polyglycolic acid (PGA) fibers. Cells were seeded by injecting a cell suspension into polymer matrices in tissue culture dishes (static seeding), by stirring polymer matrices and a cell suspension in spinner flasks (stirred seeding), or by agitating polymer matrices and a cell suspension in tubes with an orbital shaker (agitated seeding). The density of SMCs adherent to these matrices was a function of cell concentration in the seeding solution, but under all conditions a larger number (approximately 1 order of magnitude) and more uniform distribution of SMCs adherent to the matrices were obtained with dynamic versus static seeding methods. The dynamic seeding methods, as compared to the static method, also ultimately resulted in new tissues that had a higher cellularity, more uniform cell distribution, and greater elastin deposition. The effects of culture conditions were next studied by culturing cell-polymer constructs in a stirred bioreactor versus static culture conditions. The stirred culture of SMC-seeded polymer matrices resulted in tissues with a cell density of 6.4 +/- 0.8 x 10(8) cells/cm3 after 5 weeks, compared to 2.0 +/- 1.1 x 10(8) cells/cm3 with static culture. The elastin and collagen synthesis rates and deposition within the engineered tissues were also increased by culture in the bioreactors. The elastin content after 5-week culture in the stirred bioreactor was 24 +/- 3%, and both the elastin content and the cellularity of these tissues are comparable to those of native SM tissue. New tissues were also created in vivo when dynamically seeded polymer matrices were implanted in rats for various times. In summary, the system defined by these studies shows promise for engineering a tissue comparable in many respects to native SM. This engineered tissue may find clinical applications and provide a tool to study molecular mechanisms in vascular development.
Last updated on 09/29/2017