Flexible Endoscopic Spray Application of Respiratory Epithelial Cells as Platform Technology to Apply Cells in Tubular Organs

Anja Lena Thiebes, Manuel Armin Reddemann, Johannes Palmer, Reinhold Kneer, Stefan Jockenhoevel*, Christian Gabriel Cornelissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Web of Science)


INTRODUCTION: Inoperable airway stenoses are currently treated by placing stents. A major problem of covered stents is missing mucociliary clearance, which is caused by covering the native respiratory epithelium. By coating a stent with respiratory epithelium, this problem can be overcome. However, no methods are available for efficient endoscopic cell seeding.

METHODS: We designed a flexible endoscopic spraying device based on a bronchoscope and tested it with respiratory epithelial cells. With this device cells can also be applied in a thin layer of fibrin glue. We evaluated the survival rate directly after spray application with a live-dead staining and the long-term differentiation capacity with histology and electron microscopy. Furthermore, the random distribution of cells when applied in a tube was analyzed and the macroscopic and microscopic characteristics of the endoscopic spray were investigated using high-speed visualization.

RESULTS: Spray visualization revealed a polydisperse character of the spray with the majority of droplets larger than epithelial cells. Spray application does not influence the survival rate and differentiation of respiratory epithelial cells. After 4 weeks, cells built up a pseudostratified epithelial layer with cilia and goblet cells. When cells are applied in a thin layer of fibrin gel into a tube, a nearest neighbor index of 1.2 is obtained, which suggests a random distribution of the cells.

CONCLUSIONS: This spraying device is a promising tool for application of various cell types onto stents or implants with high survival rates and homogeneous distribution as shown in this study for ovine respiratory epithelial cells. The system could also be used for cell therapy to locally apply cells to the diseased parts of hollow organs. For the first time, the fluid dynamics of a spray device for cells were examined to validate in vitro results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-331
Number of pages10
JournalTissue Engineering. Part C. Methods
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Animals
  • Cell Transplantation
  • Endoscopy
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Pulmonary Adenomatosis, Ovine
  • Respiratory Mucosa
  • Sheep
  • Trachea
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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