Benjamin Cohen publishes a paper in the Annals of Plastic Surgery. The paper is entitled, Tissue Engineering Auricular Cartilage Using Late Passage Human Auricular Chondrocytes.
Auricular (ear) reconstruction is a challenging clinical procedure, and tissue engineering offers a superior technique to accurately and effectively replace a damaged or deformed auricle. A clinical biopsy of healthy ear cartilage can provide ~10 million auricular chondrocytes, however a full-sized pediatric ear requires at least 200 million cells to generate. Repeated passaging of chondrocytes to expand their number has been shown to limit the ability of the cells to produce new cartilage, however limited research exists regarding this process with auricular-specific chondrocytes. This paper examines the capacity for extensively expanded auricular chondrocytes to produce native-like auricular cartilage following implantation to determine the limit of potential chondrocyte expansion. We found that cells expanded as far as fifth passage were capable of generating robust auricular cartilage while also significantly increasing in number. This work indicates that a clinically relevant donor amount of cartilage has the potential to populate a full-sized ear construct, bringing us closer to the translation of tissue engineering as a method of auricular reconstruction.