Scientists break through the core problems of tissue and organ construction and regeneration

Recently, Li Qingfeng, professor of plastic surgery at the Ninth People’s Hospital of Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, cooperated with scientists from Macau University of Science and Technology and Rashi Medical Center in the United States to publish an article in Cell-Reporter Medicine, which originally proposed the concept of spatially induced regeneration (SIR), and pointed out that human periosteum tissue has the ability to spatially induce directional shaping to generate osteochondral structural tissues and organs.

Previously, the team verified the effectiveness and safety of space-induced regeneration in animal models. In this study, they took knuckle and auricle reconstruction as an example, and for the first time used the body’s own tissue regeneration ability to generate functional structures of autologous tissues and organs without immune rejection without the use of any foreign cells, biological scaffolds and cytokines in the human body, and successfully used them for the repair of defect sites in patients.

Regeneration of metacarpophalanges to reconstruct defective joints. Photo courtesy of interviewee

Traditional tissue engineering techniques require the addition of seed cells, cell scaffolds and growth factors in the construction of tissues and organs, and also involve in vitro culture, which has biosafety and ethical issues. The whole regeneration process of this study does not have any in vitro culture process, all of which are self-regenerated tissues, which have higher safety and ethical requirements, and solve the core problems of tissue and organ construction and regeneration. This study also provides the possibility for other tissue regeneration, especially organ reconstruction with complex structure and function, which has important theoretical significance and clinical value for the development of regenerative medicine.

The researchers implanted a 3D printed “Chamber (Regenerative Model)” of a specific joint shape into the body, using the space-induced regeneration mechanism to accurately regenerate the joint head that matches the shape and function of the defective metacarpophalangeal joint in the human body, and transplanted the regenerated joint head into the patient’s joint defect for personalized autologous tissue repair.

The team then applied this repair strategy to the treatment of 5 patients with unilateral microtia, verifying that the method can also be used to reconstruct the anatomically precise shape of the cartilage structure of the outer ear, and further achieve auricle reconstruction. After long-term follow-up, satisfactory clinical results were obtained.

Auricle-shaped cartilage that induces regeneration in vivo space. Photo courtesy of interviewee

The research group constructed corresponding animal models, explored the molecular mechanism of the space-induced regeneration process through high-throughput sequencing and single-cell detection technology, obtained the signaling pathway that plays an important role in the space-induced regeneration process, and presented the specific molecular expression and cell population changes. It provides a basis for the clinical application of spatially induced tissue and organ regeneration. (Source: China Science News, Zhang Shuanghu, Huang Xin)

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