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Acta Biomater. 2013 Aug;9(8):7865-73. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2013.04.029. Epub 2013 Apr 25.

Hydrogels derived from demineralized and decellularized bone extracellular matrix.

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School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK.


The extracellular matrix (ECM) of mammalian tissues has been isolated, decellularized and utilized as a scaffold to facilitate the repair and reconstruction of numerous tissues. Recent studies have suggested that superior function and complex tissue formation occurred when ECM scaffolds were derived from site-specific homologous tissues compared with heterologous tissues. The objectives of the present study were to apply a stringent decellularization process to demineralized bone matrix (DBM), prepared from bovine bone, and to characterize the structure and composition of the resulting ECM materials and DBM itself. Additionally, we sought to produce a soluble form of DBM and ECM which could be induced to form a hydrogel. Current clinical delivery of DBM particles for treatment of bone defects requires incorporation of the particles within a carrier liquid. Differences in osteogenic activity, inflammation and nephrotoxicity have been reported with various carrier liquids. The use of hydrogel forms of DBM or ECM may reduce the need for carrier liquids. DBM and ECM hydrogels exhibited sigmoidal gelation kinetics consistent with a nucleation and growth mechanism, with ECM hydrogels characterized by lower storage moduli than the DBM hydrogels. Enhanced proliferation of mouse primary calvarial cells was achieved on ECM hydrogels, compared with collagen type I and DBM hydrogels. These results show that DBM and ECM hydrogels have distinct structural, mechanical and biological properties and have the potential for clinical delivery without the need for carrier liquids.

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