The tracheal lumen is essential for conducting air to the lung alveoli and for voice production. However, patients with severe tracheal stenosis and malignant tumors invading the trachea often require tracheal resection. Recently, various reported tissue engineering methods for tracheal reconstruction show that regeneration of ciliated epithelium in the reconstructed areas, as well as preservation of the luminal structure is possible. However, only few studies report on the mucociliary transport function in reconstructed tracheae. We investigated mucociliary transport function within rat tracheal epithelium, reorganized after autologous adipose tissue-derived stem cell (ASC) transplantation. Rat ASCs were expanded in culture, and then seeded in a collagen sponge, which was physically supported with a polypropylene framework. The ASC-seeded collagen sponge was transplanted into the rat tracheal defect. We then examined the motility and transport function of cilia generated in the transplanted area using ciliary beat frequency (CBF) and microsphere movement analyses. Our data suggested that autologous ASC transplantation promoted ciliogenesis, consistent with previous reports. The CBF analysis revealed that motility of the cilia generated in the ASC group was comparable to that observed in the normal rat tracheal epithelium. Transport function in the ASC group was higher than that in the control group. These data suggested that autologous ASC transplantation increased ciliated cells in the reconstructed area without significantly disrupting cilia motility, thereby promoting transport function regeneration. Autologous ASC transplantation is expected to be beneficial in morphological and functional regeneration of tracheal epithelium. Anat Rec, 303:471–477, 2020.
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