It is important to have a standardized tympanic membrane (TM) perforation platform to evaluate the various myringoplasty materials that have been studied and developed extensively during recent years. However, currently there are no cellular models specifically designed for this purpose, and animal models remain unsatisfactory. The purpose of this study is to propose an inexpensive, readily available, well-controlled, and easy-to-create cellular model as a substitute for use in the evaluation of TM repairing materials. A trans-well model was created using a cell culture insert with a round hole created at the center of the polycarbonate membrane. HaCaT cells were cultured on the fenestrated culture insert, and the desired myringoplasty graft was placed at the center of the window for one week and observed by fluorescent microscopy under vital staining. Under this cellular model, there was notable migration of HaCaT cells onto the positive control graft (rabbit fascia), while only a few cell clusters were observed on the negative control graft (paper). Model validation showed that the cell migration ratio for the PLLA + 1% hyaluronic acid (HA) graft is significantly higher than using myringoplasty paper, poly l-lactide (PLLA), or PLLA + 0.5% HA (p <0.05). This trans-well-based cellular model might be a useful pre-evaluation platform for the evaluation of TM repairing materials. The model is inexpensive, readily available, easy to create, and standardized for use.
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