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J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2018 Feb;106(2):909-923. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.33865. Epub 2017 Feb 14.

A review of decellurization methods caused by an urgent need for quality control of cell-free extracellular matrix' scaffolds and their role in regenerative medicine.

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Dr Stanislaw Sakiel Centre for Burns Treatment in Siemianowice Slaskie, Poland.
University of Technology and Humanities in Bielsko-Biała, Department of Health Science in Bielsko-Biała, Poland.
The Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Unit for Chronic Wound Treatment Organization, Nursery Division, School of Healthcare in Zabrze, Poland.
Saint Barbara's Clinical Hospital number 5 in Sosnowiec, Clinical Department of Orthopaedics, Trauma, Oncologic and Reconstructive Surgery, Poland.
Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine with the Division of Dentistry in Zabrze.


The natural extracellular matrix (ECM),thanks to its specific properties (e.g., collagenous lattice, a reservoir of growth factors, ECM-cell anchoring areas, an optimal pH and CO2 ),ensures an optimal microenvironment for homeostatic and regenerative cell development. In the context of regenerative medicine, ECM is a lair for residual and infiltrative cells. The aim of the clinical usage of cell-free ECM scaffolds is the enhancement of tissue regeneration with possible minimization of an adverse host reaction on allogeneic or xenogeneic biomaterial. Thus, the objective of decellularization is to obtain acellular grafts characterized by optimal biological properties, such as a lack of remaining cellular elements (e.g., cell membrane phospholipids and proteins, nucleic acids, mitochondria), lack of immunogenicity, lack of calcification promotion and lack of cytotoxicity (e.g., in unrinsed detergents). Furthermore, cell-free ECM scaffolds should present the optimal mechanical and structural properties that may ensure the biocompatibility of the graft. The maintenance of the ultrastructure composition of the ECM is one of the most important goals of decellularization. All physical, chemical, and biological methods proposed (used separately or in combination to extract cells from tissues/organs) are not 100% effective in cell removal and always cause a disruption of the ECM texture, as well as a probable loss of important structure components. Although cell-free ECM scaffolds are generally classified as medical devices, there are no widely accepted or legally defined criteria for quality control/evaluation methods of obtained matrices. Such criteria must be provided. Some of them have been proposed in this manuscript.


acellular biological matrices; decellurization; extracellular matrix ECM; quality control; tissue engineering

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