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Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2011 Sep;17(9):915-26. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2011.0210. Epub 2011 Jul 8.

The quest for an optimized protocol for whole-heart decellularization: a comparison of three popular and a novel decellularization technique and their diverse effects on crucial extracellular matrix qualities.

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Department of Cardiovascular Surgery and Institute for Experimental Surgery, Duesseldorf University Hospital, Duesseldorf, Germany.


Decellularized cardiac extracellular matrix (ECM) has been introduced as a template for cardiac tissue engineering, providing the advantages of a prevascularized scaffold that mimics native micro- and macroarchitecture to a degree difficult to achieve with synthetic materials. Nonetheless, the decellularization protocols used to create acellular myocardial scaffolds vary widely throughout the literature. In this study we performed a direct comparison of three previously described protocols while introducing and evaluating a novel, specifically developed fourth protocol, by decellularizing whole rat hearts through software-controlled automatic coronary perfusion. Although all protocols preserved the macroarchitecture of the hearts and all resulting scaffolds could successfully be reseeded with C2C12 myoblasts, assessing their biocompatibility for three-dimensional in vitro studies, we found striking differences concerning the microcomposition of the ECM scaffolds on a histological and biochemical level. While laminin could still be detected in all groups, other crucial ECM components, like elastin and collagen IV, were completely removed by at least one of the protocols. Further, only three protocols maintained a glycosaminoglycan content comparable to native tissue, whereas the remaining DNA content within the ECM varied highly throughout all four tested protocols. This study showed that the degree of acellularity and resulting ECM composition of decellularized myocardial scaffolds strongly differs depending on the decellularization protocol.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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