ABSTRACT: The successful use of cryopreserved tracheal allografts in canine models suggests their use in humans. The grade of genetic difference, the mechanism of revascularisation and the method of cryopreservation are not clearly defined. The purpose of our study was to investigate the rejection of tracheal transplants in a standardised heterotopic rat model using different forms of cryopreservation.
Tracheae from Brown Norway rats were implanted into the omentum from Brown Norway rats or Lewis rats. We transplanted fresh isografts or allografts and pretreated isografts or allografts. Cryopreservation was performed in a medium containing 10% dimethyl sulphoxide at -80 degrees C for 28 days (I) or -196 degrees C for 84 days (II) or without medium at -80 degrees C for 28 days (III). The transplants were excised after 7 and 21 days, respectively.
Histological examinations revealed normal structure and function of isografts after 21 days. In the cryopreserved isograft, the epithelium had disappeared and the tracheal lumen was partially obstructed by a non-compact fibrous tissue. In the fresh allografts, the epithelium was replaced by aggressive fibrous tissue, infiltrating the membranous part of the trachea and occluding the tracheal lumen. The cartilage was vital without any sign of rejection. In the cryopreserved allografts, the tracheal lumen was obstructed by dense fibrous tissue with an inflammatory reaction. The cartilage of cryopreserved allografts (II) and (III) had lost the nuclei corresponding to non-vital tissue. Only in the cryopreserved allografts (I) did we find nodular regeneration at the edges of the cartilaginous bow.
The heterotopic transplantation model allows the study of the mechanisms leading to tracheal obstruction. Cryopreservation was found to have no clear advantage in reducing transplant immunogenicity. Cryopreservation leads to significant damage to the cartilage, the intensity of which is dependent on the mode of cryopreservation.
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery 02/2003; 23(1):15-20. · 2.55 Impact Factor