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Plastic Surgery International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 510852, 6 pages
Research Article

A New Approach of In Vivo Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering Using the Epigastric Artery as Central Core Vessel of a 3-Dimensional Construct

1Department of Plastic Surgery, Reconstructive and Hand Surgery, Burn Center, University Hospital Aachen, RWTH, Pauwelsstraße 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany
2Department of Anatomy, University Hospital Aachen, 52074 Aachen, Germany
3Institute of Laboratory Animal Science and Experimental Surgery, University Hospital Aachen, 52074 Aachen, Germany
4Helmholtz Institute for Biomedical Engineering, RWTH Aachen, 52074 Aachen, Germany

Received 18 September 2011; Accepted 5 December 2011

Academic Editor: Jan-Thorsten Schantz

Copyright © 2012 Sebastian E. Dunda et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The creation of musculoskeletal tissue represents an alternative for the replacement of soft tissue in reconstructive surgery. However, most of the approaches of creating artificial tissue have their limitations in the size as the maximally obtainable dimension of bioartificial tissue (BAT) is limited due to the lack of supporting vessels within the 3-dimensional construct. The seeded myoblasts require high amounts of perfusion, oxygen, and nutrients to survive. To achieve this, we developed a 3-dimensional scaffold which features the epigastric artery as macroscopic core vessel inside the BAT in a rat model (perfused group, 𝑛 = 4 ) and a control group ( 𝑛 = 3 ) without the epigastric vessels and, therefore, without perfusion. The in vivo monitoring of the transplanted myoblasts was assessed by bioluminescence imaging and showed both the viability of the epigastric artery within the 3-dimensional construct and again that cell survival in vivo is highly depending on the blood supply with the beginning of capillarization within the BAT seven days after transplantation in the perfused group. However, further studies focussing on the matrix improvement will be necessary to create a transplantable BAT with the epigastric artery as anastomosable vessel.