Verification of cell viability in bioengineered tissues and organs before clinical transplantation

Philipp Jungebluth, Johannes C. Haag, Mei L. Lim, Greg Lemon, Sebastian Sjöqvist, Ylva Gustafsson, Fatemeh Ajalloueian, Irina Gilevich, Oscar E. Simonson, Karl H. Grinnemo, Matthias Corbascio, Silvia Baiguera, Costantino Del Gaudio, Staffan Strömblad, Paolo Macchiarini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The clinical outcome of transplantations of bioartificial tissues and organs depends on the presence of living cells. There are still no standard operative protocols that are simple, fast and reliable for confirming the presence of viable cells on bioartificial scaffolds prior to transplantation. By using mathematical modeling, we have developed a colorimetric-based system (colorimetric scale bar) to predict the cell viability and density for sufficient surface coverage. First, we refined a method which can provide information about cell viability and numbers in an in vitro setting: i) immunohistological staining by Phalloidin/DAPI and ii) a modified colorimetric cell viability assay. These laboratory-based methods and the developed colorimetric-based system were then validated in rat transplantation studies of unseeded and seeded tracheal grafts. This was done to provide critical information on whether the graft would be suitable for transplantation or if additional cell seeding was necessary. The potential clinical impact of the colorimetric scale bar was confirmed using patient samples. In conclusion, we have developed a robust, fast and reproducible colorimetric tool that can verify and warrant viability and integrity of an engineered tissue/organ prior to transplantation. This should facilitate a successful transplantation outcome and ensure patient safety.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number16
Pages (from-to)4057-4067
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Airway tissue engineering
  • Bioartifical trachea
  • Cell proliferation assay
  • Cell viability
  • Synthetic scaffold
  • Transplantation


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