Polymer-integrated amnion scaffold significantly improves cleft palate repair

Wuwei Li, Yuqian Fu, Bin Jiang, Aaron Y. Lo, Guillermo A. Ameer, Cleon Barnett, Bo Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Cleft palate is a common oral and craniomaxillofacial birth defect. As the ideal surgery time is shortly after birth, clinical treatments should result in minimal disruption of the skeleton to allow tissue growth in children. A tissue-engineered graft was created in this study for cleft palate repair by integrating poly(1,8-octamethylene-citrate) (POC) with a decellularized amnion membrane (DAM-POC) to incorporate the advantages of both the synthetic polymer and the native tissue. The success of POC incorporation was confirmed by laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy and fluorescence detection. The DAM-POC scaffold showed a certain level of structure collapse and lower stiffness but better resistance to enzyme digestion than the native amnion and DAM scaffold. The DAM-POC scaffold is cell compatible when seeded with mesenchymal stem cells, as evidenced by adequate cell viability and improved alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and calcium deposit. A large palate defect was first surgically created in a young rat model and then repaired with the DAM-POC scaffold. Eight weeks postsurgery, histological study and CT scans showed nearly complete healing of both soft and hard tissues. In conclusion, we developed a cell-free, resorbable graft by incorporating and integrating a synthetic polymer with a human DAM. When the DAM-POC scaffold was applied to repair a large palate defect in young rats, it showed adequate biocompatibility as evidenced by its effectiveness in guiding hard and soft tissue regeneration and minimum interference with natural growth and palate development of rats. Statement of Significance: Proper restoration of severe cleft palate remains a major challenge because of insufficient autologous soft tissues to close the open wounds, thereby causing high tension at the surgical junction, secondary palatal fistulas, wound contraction, scar tissue formation, and facial growth disturbances. In this study, we have developed a tissue-engineered graft through incorporating and integrating a synthetic polymer with the human amnion membrane for cleft palate repair. The significance of this study lies in our ability to develop a cell-free, resorbable graft that can provide a less surgically invasive option to cover the open defect and support palate regeneration and tissue growth. This technique could potentially advance soft and hard tissue regeneration in children with birth craniomaxillofacial defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-114
Number of pages11
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • Amnion membrane
  • Cleft palate
  • Graft
  • Palate defect
  • Polymer integration
  • Young rat model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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