Feasibility of a porcine oral mucosa equivalent: A preclinical study
Oral tissue engineering aims to treat and fill tissue deficits caused by congenital defects, facial trauma, or malignant lesion surgery, as well as to study the biology of oral mucosa. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) require a large animal model to evaluate cell-based devices, including tissue-engineered oral mucosa, prior to initiating human clinical studies. Porcine oral mucosa is non-keratinized and resembles that of humans more closely than any other animal in terms of structure and composition; however, there have not been any reports on the reconstruction of a porcine oral mucosa equivalent, probably due to the difficulty to culture porcine fibroblasts. In this study, we demonstrate the feasibility of a 3D porcine oral mucosa equivalent based on a collagen-GAG-chitosan scaffold, as well as reconstructed porcine epithelium by using an amniotic membrane as support, or without any support in form of epithelial cell sheets by using thermoresponsive culture plates. Explants technique was used for the isolation of the porcine fibroblasts and a modified fibroblast medium containing 20% fetal calf serum was used for their culture. The histological and transmission electron microscopic analyses of the resulting porcine oral mucosa models showed the presence of non-keratinized epithelia expressing keratin 13, the major differentiation marker of non-keratinized oral mucosa, in all models, and the presence of newly synthesized collagen fibers in the lamina propria equivalent of the full-thickness model, indicating the functionality of porcine fibroblasts.