Interindividual heterogeneity affects the outcome of human cardiac tissue decellularization

Miguel F. Tenreiro, Henrique V. Almeida, Tomás Calmeiro, Elvira Fortunato, Lino Ferreira, Paula M. Alves, Margarida Serra

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10 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


The extracellular matrix (ECM) of engineered human cardiac tissues corresponds to simplistic biomaterials that allow tissue assembly, or animal derived off-the-shelf non-cardiac specific matrices. Decellularized ECM from human cardiac tissue could provide a means to improve the mimicry of engineered human cardiac tissues. Decellularization of cardiac tissue samples using immersion-based methods can produce acceptable cardiac ECM scaffolds; however, these protocols are mostly described for animal tissue preparations. We have tested four methods to decellularize human cardiac tissue and evaluated their efficiency in terms of cell removal and preservation of key ECM components, such as collagens and sulfated glycosaminoglycans. Extended exposure to decellularization agents, namely sodium dodecyl sulfate and Triton-X-100, was needed to significantly remove DNA content by approximately 93% in all human donors. However, the biochemical composition of decellularized tissue is affected, and the preservation of ECM architecture is donor dependent. Our results indicate that standardization of decellularization protocols for human tissue is likely unfeasible, and a compromise between cell removal and ECM preservation must be established in accordance with the scaffold’s intended application. Notwithstanding, decellularized human cardiac ECM supported human induced pluripotent-derived cardiomyocyte (hiPSC-CM) attachment and retention for up to 2 weeks of culture, and promoted cell alignment and contraction, providing evidence it could be a valuable tool for cardiac tissue engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20834
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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