Objectives/Hypothesis: Ideal methods for reconstructing the tracheal structure and restoring tracheal function following damage to the trachea or removal of the trachea have not been developed. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of using a whole segment decellularized tracheal scaffold to reconstruct the trachea. Study Design: Prospective experimental design. Setting: In vivo rabbit model. Methods: Trachea scaffolds were created using our previously developed freeze-dry-sonication-sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), [FDSS] decellularization process. After histological and mechanical testing, the scaffolds were transplanted orthotopically into segmental defects in New Zealand White Rabbits (n = 9). Another three rabbits receiving the sham operation with autologous trachea transplantations served as the control group. Two weeks after transplantation, the grafts were evaluated endoscopically and histologically. Results: The mechanical properties of the decellularized trachea segment did not differ significantly from the fresh native trachea. After transplantation, whereas the autograft in the control group showed full integration and functional recovery, all of the rabbits in the decellularized scaffold transplantation group died within 7∼24 days. Although significant collapse of the tracheal tubular structures was noted, full respiratory epithelium regeneration was observed in the rabbits that survived more than 2 weeks. Conclusion: The FDSS decellularization process is effective in creating whole-segment, subtotally decellularized trachea scaffolds. However, although the respiratory epithelium regeneration on the inner surface appeared to be satisfactory, the tubular structures were not able to be maintained after transplantation, which ultimately led to the death of the animals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas