Human barrier models for the in vitro assessment of drug delivery
Synthetic or biological materials can be used for the surgical repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI). While non-degradable synthetic mesh has a low failure rate, it is prone to complications such as infection and erosion, particularly in the urological/gynecological setting when subject to chronic influences of gravity and intermittent, repetitive strain. Biological materials have lower complication rates, although allografts and xenografts have a high risk of failure and the theoretical risk of infection. Autografts are used successfully for the treatment of SUI and are not associated with erosion; however, can lead to morbidity at the donor site. Tissue engineering has thus become the focus of interest in recent years as researchers seek an ideal tissue remodeling material for urogynecological repair. Herein, we review the directions of current and future research in this exciting field. Electrospun poly-L-lactic acid (PLA) and porcine small intestine submucosa (SIS) are two promising scaffold material candidates. Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) appear to be a suitable cell type for scaffold seeding, and cells grown on scaffolds when subjected to repetitive biaxial strain show more appropriate biomechanical properties for clinical implantation. After implantation, an appropriate level of acute inflammation is important to precipitate moderate fibrosis and encourage tissue strength. New research directions include the use of bioactive materials containing compounds that may help facilitate integration of the new tissue. More research with longer follow-up is needed to ascertain the most successful and safe methods and materials for pelvic organ repair and SUI treatment.