High-density collagen gel tubes as a matrix for primary human bladder smooth muscle cells
Tissue-engineered grafts for the urinary tract are being investigated for the potential treatment of several urologic diseases. These grafts, predominantly tubular-shaped, usually require in vitro culture prior to implantation to allow cell engraftment on initially cell-free scaffolds. We have developed a method to produce tubular-shaped collagen scaffolds based on plastic compression. Our approach produces a ready cell-seeded graft that does not need further in vitro culture prior to implantation. The tubular collagen scaffolds were in particular investigated for their structural, mechanical and biological properties. The resulting construct showed an especially high collagen density, and was characterized by favorable mechanical properties assessed by axial extension and radial dilation. Young modulus in particular was greater than non-compressed collagen tubes. Seeding densities affected proliferation rate of primary human bladder smooth muscle cells. An optimal seeding density of 106 cells per construct resulted in a 25-fold increase in Alamar blue-based fluorescence after 2 wk in culture. These high-density collagen gel tubes, ready seeded with smooth muscle cells could be further seeded with urothelial cells, drastically shortening the production time of graft for urinary tract regeneration. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.