Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

First Advisor

John Geibel, M.D.

Second Advisor

Christopher Breuer, M.D.


Long segment tracheal obstruction is a potentially fatal condition arising from primary malignancy, congenital tracheal stenosis, or benign strictures. Shorter lesions are amenable to primary surgical repair, but anastomotic tension remains a limiting factor. Attention has therefore turned towards tissue engineered interposition grafts, consisting of cartilage, vascular, and airway epithelial cell layers. For clinical applications, it is essential to develop tools for noninvasive monitoring of in vivo graft development. This investigation therefore sough to optimize a tracheal patch and tube model suitable for SCID mouse implantation, and to demonstrate simultaneous tracking of human chondrocytes and epithelial cells labeled with contrasting intracellular magnetic resonance labels. Cartilage labeled with iron oxide nanoparticles was successfully distinguished from unlabeled control tissue both in vitro and in vivo. Gadolinium dendrimer labeling of adjacent airway epithelial cells, however, did not initially permit enhanced visualization. Further model optimization is required for simultaneous cell tracking.


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