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Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2015 Jan;21(1):94-103. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2013.0756.

Automated decellularization of intact, human-sized lungs for tissue engineering.

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1 Division of Blood and Marrow Transplant, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Cancer Center, University of Minnesota , Minneapolis, Minnesota.


We developed an automated system that can be used to decellularize whole human-sized organs and have shown lung as an example. Lungs from 20 to 30 kg pigs were excised en bloc with the trachea and decellularized with our established protocol of deionized water, detergents, sodium chloride, and porcine pancreatic DNase. A software program was written to control a valve manifold assembly that we built for selection and timing of decellularization fluid perfusion through the airway and the vasculature. This system was interfaced with a prototypic bioreactor chamber that was connected to another program, from a commercial source, which controlled the volume and flow pressure of fluids. Lung matrix that was decellularized by the automated method was compared to a manual method previously used by us and others. Automation resulted in more consistent acellular matrix preparations as demonstrated by measuring levels of DNA, hydroxyproline (collagen), elastin, laminin, and glycosaminoglycans. It also proved highly beneficial in saving time as the decellularization procedure was reduced from days down to just 24 h. Developing a rapid, controllable, automated system for production of reproducible matrices in a closed system is a major step forward in whole-organ tissue engineering.

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