Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics Research Group

Conference Abstract -ISI Web of Science Indexed

Artificial thymus_ a tissue engineering strategy


The thymus is the central organ responsible for the generation of T lymphocytes (1). Various diseases cause the thymus to produce in- sufficient T cells, which can lead to immune-suppression (2). Since T cells are essential for the protection against pathogens, it is crucial to promote de novo differentiation of T cells on diseased individuals. The available clinical solutions are: 1) one protocol involving the transplant of thymic stroma from unrelated children only applicable for athymic children (3); 2) for patients with severe peripheral T cell depletion and reduced thymic activity, the administration of stimu- lating molecules stimulating the activity of the endogenous thymus (4). A scaffold (CellFoam) was suggested to support thymus regen- eration in vivo (5), although this research was discontinued. Herein, we propose an innovative strategy to generate a bioartificial thymus. We use a polycaprolactone nanofiber mesh (PCL-NFM) seeded and cultured with human thymic epithelial cells (hTECs). The cells were obtained from infant thymus collected during pediatric cardio-tho- racic surgeries. We report new data on the isolation and characterization of those cells and their interaction with PCL-NFM, by expanding hTECs into relevant numbers and by optimizing cell seeding methods.

Tissue Engineering Part A
Mary Ann Libert
Biomaterials, Stem cells, Thymus
Restricted Access
Peer Reviewed
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