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Preventive effect of oral mucosal epithelial cell sheets on intrauterine adhesions

Goro Kuramoto, Soichi Takagi, Ken Ishitani, Tatsuya Shimizu, Teruo Okano, Hideo Matsui
Human Reproduction 2015, 30 (2): 406-16

STUDY QUESTION: Can regenerative-medicine techniques using oral mucosal epithelial cell sheets (OMECS) provide a new treatment method for intrauterine adhesions (IUA) which cause female infertility?

SUMMARY ANSWER: Transplantation of OMECS was confirmed to be effective in preventing IUA after endometrial damage in rats.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Uterine disorders such as IUA, commonly known as Asherman's syndrome, are one factor that can result in infertility. Clinical therapy for this kind of disease is targeted at the prevention of re-adhesion by surgical synechiotomy, administration of hormones after the operation, and the use of intrauterine devices. Recently, a new approach called 'cell-sheet engineering', which harvests confluent culture cells as a contiguous cell sheet having intact cell-cell junctions and an extracellular matrix, without having to use enzymatic treatment, has been developed for tissue regeneration.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: OMECS were prepared from rat oral mucosal tissues. An IUA model was made in rat uteri, and OMECS were transplanted into the model. Uteri transplanted with OMECS were compared with the non-transplanted control uteri by histological analysis at 1, 2 and 8 days after surgery (n = 3).

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Oral mucosal tissues were resected from neonatal rats, and oral mucosal epithelial cells were collected with enzymatic treatment. An isolated cell suspension was seeded on a temperature-responsive cell culture-insert and incubated. After being detached from the insert, a cell sheet was transplanted onto the endometrium defect. At 1, 2 and 8 days after surgery, uteri were resected and examined.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Histological examination of the non-treated specimens at 1, 2 and 8 days after surgery did not show any uterine cavities typically caused by IUA. In contrast, the histology of uteri transplanted with OMECS immediately after endometrial damage showed the presence of uterine cavities, and furthermore, stratified squamous epithelial cells on the luminal surface (n = 3).

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: The results of this study are difficult to apply directly to humans, because the structure and function of rat uteri are different from those of human.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Transplantation of OMECS offers a reliable method not only to protect the woman's fertility from intrauterine re-adhesion after synechiotomy for IUA or uterine lumen adhesion but also to prevent adhesion after any intrauterine surgery in clinical cases.


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