Background & Aims: To restore fecal continence, the weakened pressure of the internal anal sphincter (IAS) must be increased. We bioengineered intrinsically innervated human IAS to emulate sphincteric physiology in vitro. Methods: We cocultured human IAS circular smooth muscle with immortomouse fetal enteric neurons. We investigated the ability of bioengineered innervated human IAS, implanted in RAG1-/- mice, to undergo neovascularization and preserve the physiology of the constituent myogenic and neuronal components. Results: The implanted IAS was neovascularized in vivo; numerous blood vessels were observed with no signs of inflammation or infection. Real-time force acquisition from implanted and preimplant IAS showed distinct characteristics of IAS physiology. Features included the development of spontaneous myogenic basal tone; relaxation of 100% of basal tone in response to inhibitory neurotransmitter vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and direct electrical field stimulation of the intrinsic innervation; inhibition of nitrergic and VIPergic electrical field-induced relaxation (by antagonizing nitric oxide synthesis or receptor interaction); contraction in response to cholinergic stimulation with acetylcholine; and intact electromechanical coupling (evidenced by direct response to potassium chloride). Implanted, intrinsically innervated bioengineered human IAS tissue preserved the integrity and physiology of myogenic and neuronal components. Conclusions: Intrinsically innervated human IAS bioengineered tissue can be successfully implanted in mice. This approach might be used to treat patients with fecal incontinence.
- Enteric Nervous System
- IM-FEN Cells
- ImmortoMouse Fetal Enteric Neurons Cells
- Tissue Engineering
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