Strategies are needed to improve repopulation of decellularized lung scaffolds with stromal and functional epithelial cells. We demonstrate that decellularized mouse lungs recellularized in a dynamic low fluid shear suspension bioreactor, termed the rotating wall vessel (RWV), contained more cells with decreased apoptosis, increased proliferation and enhanced levels of total RNA compared to static recellularization conditions. These results were observed with two relevant mouse cell types: bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal (stem) cells (MSCs) and alveolar type II cells (C10). In addition, MSCs cultured in decellularized lungs under static but not bioreactor conditions formed multilayered aggregates. Gene expression and immunohistochemical analyses suggested differentiation of MSCs into collagen I-producing fibroblast-like cells in the bioreactor, indicating enhanced potential for remodeling of the decellularized scaffold matrix. In conclusion, dynamic suspension culture is promising for enhancing repopulation of decellularized lungs, and could contribute to remodeling the extracellular matrix of the scaffolds with subsequent effects on differentiation and functionality of inoculated cells.
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