We carried out an experimental study to evaluate the effect of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF)-containing collagen gel on vascularization in esophageal tissue engineering. We compared an acellular collagen sponge scaffold and an acellular collagen gel scaffold in combination with bFGF using a canine model. The construct was implanted in the cervical esophagus and the regenerated tissue was evaluated one month after surgery. Histological analysis confirmed a significantly large amount of blood vessels in the bFGF-containing collagen gel group as compared to the collagen gel group without bFGF (bFGF (-)). However, in the collagen sponge groups, no difference was observed between the bFGF (+) group and the bFGF (-) group. These results showed that bFGF-containing collagen gel is suitable not only for an acellular scaffold for tissue engineering but also for an effective tropic factor vehicle in vivo.
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