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Tissue Eng Part A. 2018 Apr;24(7-8):682-693. doi: 10.1089/ten.tea.2017.0107. Epub 2018 Mar 13.

Characterization of the Epicardial Adipose Tissue in Decellularized Human-Scaled Whole Hearts: Implications for the Whole-Heart Tissue Engineering.

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1 Research Group for Experimental Surgery, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Medical Faculty, Heinrich Heine University , Duesseldorf, Germany .
2 Helmholtz Group for Cell Biology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) , Heidelberg, Germany .
3 Proteomics Group, German Diabetes Center , Duesseldorf, Germany .
4 Core Facility for Electron Microscopy, Division of Clinical Anatomy, Medical Faculty, Heinrich Heine University , Duesseldorf, Germany .
5 Department of Cardiac Surgery, Asahikawa Medical University , Hokkaido, Japan .


Whole-organ engineering is an innovative field of regenerative medicine with growing translational perspectives. Recent reports suggest the feasibility of decellularization and repopulation of entire human size hearts. However, little is known about the susceptibility of epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) to decellularization. In this study, human size hearts of ovine donors were subjected to perfusion-based decellularization using detergent solutions. Upon basic histological evaluation and total DNA measurement myocardial regions prove largely decellularized while EAT demonstrated cellular remnants, further confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. Western blot analysis showed a significant reduction in lipid-associated and cardiac proteins. However, gas chromatography revealed unchanged proportional composition of fatty acids in EAT of decellularized whole hearts. Finally, cell culture medium conditioned with EAT from decellularized whole hearts had a significant deleterious effect on cardiac fibroblasts. These data suggest that perfusion decellularization of human size whole hearts provides inconsistent efficacy regarding donor material removal from myocardial regions as opposed to EAT.


epicardial adipose tissue; myocardial extracellular matrix; whole-heart decellularization

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