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Improved chondrogenic performance with protective tracheal design of Chitosan membrane surrounding 3D-printed trachea

  • Kim, Hyeonji1
  • Lee, Jae Yeon2
  • Han, Hyeonseok1
  • Cho, Won-Woo1
  • Han, Hohyeon3
  • Choi, Andrew1
  • Hong, Hyeonjun1
  • Kim, Jae Yun3
  • Park, Jeong Hun4
  • Park, Sun Hwa5, 5
  • Kim, Sung Won5, 5
  • Kim, Dong Sung1
  • Cho, Dong-Woo1, 3, 6
  • 1 Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Pohang, Gyeongbuk, 37673, South Korea , Pohang (South Korea)
  • 2 Daegu Haany University, Gyeongsan, Gyeongbuk, 38610, South Korea , Gyeongsan (South Korea)
  • 3 School of Interdisciplinary Bioscience and Bioengineering (POSTECH), Pohang, Gyeongbuk, 37673, South Korea , Pohang (South Korea)
  • 4 The Wallace H. Coulter, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA , Atlanta (United States)
  • 5 The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea , Seoul (South Korea)
  • 6 Yonsei University, Seoul, 03722, South Korea , Seoul (South Korea)
Published Article
Scientific Reports
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Apr 29, 2021
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-88830-3
Springer Nature


In recent tracheal tissue engineering, limitations in cartilage reconstruction, caused by immature delivery of chondrocyte-laden components, have been reported beyond the complete epithelialization and integration of the tracheal substitutes with the host tissue. In an attempt to overcome such limitations, this article introduces a protective design of tissue-engineered trachea (TraCHIM) composed of a chitosan-based nanofiber membrane (CHIM) and a 3D-printed biotracheal construct. The CHIM was created from chitosan and polycaprolactone (PCL) using an electrospinning process. Upon addition of chitosan to PCL, the diameter of electrospun fibers became thinner, allowing them to be stacked more closely, thereby improving its mechanical properties. Chitosan also enhances the hydrophilicity of the membranes, preventing them from slipping and delaminating over the cell-laden bioink of the biotracheal graft, as well as protecting the construct. Two weeks after implantation in Sprague–Dawley male rats, the group with the TraCHIM exhibited a higher number of chondrocytes, with enhanced chondrogenic performance, than the control group without the membrane. This study successfully demonstrates enhanced chondrogenic performance of TraCHIM in vivo. The protective design of TraCHIM opens a new avenue in engineered tissue research, which requires faster tissue formation from 3D biodegradable materials, to achieve complete replacement of diseased tissue.

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