Endoscopic treatment of vesicoureteral reflux with a chondrocyte-alginate suspension

A. Atala, W. Kim, K. T. Paige, C. A. Vacanti, A. B. Retik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

257 Scopus citations


Injection of polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon) or collagen has been used in the endoscopic treatment of vesicoureteral reflux. Although the principle of an endoscopic treatment is valid, there are concerns regarding the long-term safety and effectiveness of these substances. In search of a different injectable material we conducted experiments using chondrocytes in a biodegradable polymer solution for the treatment of vesicoureteral reflux in an animal model. Reflux was created in 4 mini-pigs and confirmed with a cystogram. Cartilage was obtained from the auricular surface of each animal. Chondrocytes were harvested and expanded in vitro. The cells were individually quantitated and concentrated to 40 million cells per cc. The cell suspensions were mixed with a sodium alginate and calcium sulfate solution. Each pig was injected unilaterally in the subureteral region with the autologous chondrocyte suspension. The opposite ureter served as an internal control in all animals. Cystograms showed resolution of reflux in the treated side and persistence of reflux in the opposite untreated side in each instance. Excretory urograms revealed no evidence of obstruction. Histological examination of the subureteral region demonstrated cartilage. Autologous chondrocytes can be readily harvested, expanded in vitro and injected cystoscopically. The cells survive and form a cartilage nidus that is nonantigenic. This system is able to correct reflux without any evidence of obstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-643
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number2 II
StatePublished - 1994


  • alginates
  • chondroitin
  • endoscopy
  • vesico-ureteral reflux

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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