Purpose: Natural penile prostheses created from the patient's own cells may eliminate the biocompatibility risks associated with artificial prostheses. We previously demonstrated that autologous cartilaginous rods could be created in animal corpus cavernosum as penile prostheses in situ by transplanting autologous chondrocytes on biodegradable polymer scaffolds. In the present study we investigated the possibility of engineering human cartilage rods for potential use as penile prostheses. Materials and Methods: Chondrocytes isolated from human ear were seeded on rod shaped biodegradable polymer scaffolds (1.2 cm. in diameter, 6.0 cm. long). The seeded scaffolds were maintained in stirred bioreactors for 1 month. Subsequently, the seeded scaffolds were implanted subcutaneously into athymic rats. The specimens were retrieved 2 months after implantation, and histological, structural and mechanical properties were analyzed. The mechanical properties of the engineered prostheses were compared to those of silicone prostheses. Results: Human chondrocytes seeded onto polymer scaffolds formed milk-white cartilaginous rods of the same size as the initial implants. Histological analyses using hematoxylin and eosin, toluidine blue and alcian blue showed mature and well-formed chrondrocytes in the retrieved implants. The engineered human cartilaginous rods were flexible, elastic and able to withstand high degrees of compressive forces. The mechanical properties were comparable to those of commercially available silicone prostheses. Conclusions: Transplantation of chrondrocytes isolated from human ear on polymer scaffolds resulted in the formation of human cartilage rods with the appropriate mechanical properties required for use as penile prostheses. This study demonstrates the feasibility of creating human cartilage rods with a large dimension. This technology may be useful for patients who need penile reconstruction.
- Penile prosthesis
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