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Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2015 Nov;21(11):1148-61. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2014.0709. Epub 2015 Jul 14.

Automation of Pressure Control Improves Whole Porcine Heart Decellularization.

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1 Department of Chemical Engineering, Brigham Young University , Provo, Utah.
2 Department of Biology, Brigham Young University , Provo, Utah.
3 Department of Physiology and Developmental Biology, Brigham Young University , Provo, Utah.


Whole heart decellularization combined with patient-specific cells may prove to be an extremely valuable approach to engineer new hearts. Mild detergents are commonly used in the decellularization process, but are known to denature and solubilize key proteins and growth factors and can therefore be destructive to the extracellular matrix (ECM) during the decellularization process. In this study, the decellularization of porcine hearts was accomplished in 24 h with only 6 h of sodium dodecyl sulfate exposure and 98% DNA removal. Automatically controlling the pressure during decellularization reduced the detergent exposure time while still completely removing immunogenic cell debris. Stimulation of macrophages was greatly reduced when comparing native tissue samples to the processed ECM. Complete cell removal was confirmed by analysis of DNA content. General collagen and elastin preservation was demonstrated. Glycosaminoglycans and collagen quantification both showed no significant differences in content after decellularization. The compression elastic modulus of the ECM after decellularization was lower than native at low strains, but there was no significant difference at high strains. Polyurethane casts of the vasculature of native and decellularized hearts demonstrated that the microvasculature network was preserved after decellularization. A static blood thrombosis assay using bovine blood was also developed. Finally, the recellularization potential of the ECM samples was demonstrated by reseeding cardiac fibroblasts and endothelial cells on the myocardium and endocardium samples.

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