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Tissue Eng. 2006 Mar;12(3):519-26.

The basement membrane component of biologic scaffolds derived from extracellular matrix.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219, USA.


The extracellular matrix (ECM) has been successfully used as a scaffold for constructive remodeling of multiple tissues in both preclinical studies and in human clinical applications. The basement membrane is a specialized form of the ECM that supports and facilitates the growth of epithelial cell populations. The morphology and the molecular composition of the ECM, including the basement membrane, vary depending upon the organ from which the ECM is harvested and the methods by which it is processed for use as a medical device. Processing steps, such as decellularization, lyophilization, disinfection, and terminal sterilization, may affect the morphology and composition of an ECM scaffold, including, but not limited to, the integrity of a basement membrane complex. The present study evaluated the presence and integrity of a basement membrane complex in processed ECM derived from three different tissues: the urinary bladder, small intestine, and liver. Immunohistochemical determination of the presence and localization of three basement membrane molecules, collagen IV, laminin, and collagen VII, was conducted for each ECM scaffold. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to further explore the surface ultrastructure of selected ECM scaffolds. The effect of a surface basement membrane presence upon the pattern of in vitro growth of two separate cell types, NIH 3T3 fibroblasts and human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC), was also evaluated for each ECM scaffold. Results showed that the only intact basement membrane complex was found on the luminal surface of the ECM derived from the urinary bladder and that the basement membrane was an effective barrier to penetration of the scaffold by the seeded cells. We conclude that the urinary bladder ECM but not the small intestine- or liver-derived ECM contains a surface with composition and morphology consistent with that of an intact basement membrane complex, that the basement membrane complex can survive processing, and that the basement membrane structure can modulate in vitro cell growth patterns.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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