Adrenal extracellular matrix scaffolds support adrenocortical cell proliferation and function in vitro

Robert A. Allen, Lara M. Seltz, Hongbin Jiang, Rena T. Kasick, Tiffany L. Sellaro, Stephen F. Badylak, Jennifer B. Ogilvie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Transplantation of functional adrenal cortex cells could reduce morbidity and increase the quality of life of patients with adrenal insufficiency. Our aim was to determine whether adrenal extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffolds promote adrenocortical cell endocrine function and proliferation in vitro. We seeded decellularized porcine adrenal ECM with primary human fetal adrenocortical (HFA) cells. Adrenocortical function was quantified by cortisol secretion of HFA-ECM constructs after stimulation with adrenocorticotropic hormone. Proliferation was assessed by adenosine triphosphate assay. HFA-ECM construct morphology was evaluated by immunofluorescence microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Adrenal HFA-ECM constructs coated with laminin were compared to uncoated constructs. Laminin coating did not significantly affect HFA morphology, proliferation, or function. We demonstrated HFA cell attachment to adrenal ECM scaffolds. Cortisol production and HFA cell proliferation were significantly increased in HFA-ECM constructs compared to controls (pa<0.05), and cortisol secretion rate per cell is comparable to that of human adult and fetal explants. We conclude that adrenal ECM supports endocrine function and proliferation of adrenocortical cells in vitro. Adrenal ECM scaffolds may form the basis for biocompatible tissue-engineered adrenal replacements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3363-3374
Number of pages12
JournalTissue Engineering - Part A.
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


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