The harvest of human bladder muscle and urothelial cells with subsequent growth may be useful for tissue replacement in genitourinary reconstruction. We previously reported the development of a system for the harvest, delivery and growth of rabbit urothelium in vivo using biodegradable polymers. We have now expanded and adapted this system for the harvest and in vivo implantation of human bladder urothelial and muscle cells. Synthetic polymer fibers of polyglycolic acid can serve as a scaffold and a delivery vehicle for the implantation of rabbit uroepithelial cells into athymic host animals. The polymers, which slowly degrade in vivo, allow the urothelial cells to survive at the implant site. We demonstrate that polyglycolic acid polymers support the proliferation of rabbit urothelial cells in situ and can serve as a maleable substrate for the creation of new urological structures that replace the degrading polymer fibers. We also show that human urothelial cells and bladder muscle cells, when implanted on polyglycolic acid fibers, form new urological structures in vivo composed of both cell types. The human cell- polymer xenografts can be recovered from host animals at extended times after implantation. These data suggest the feasibility of using polyglycolic acid polymers as substrates for the creation of human urothelial and muscle grafts for genitourinary reconstruction.
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