The only definitive therapy for end stage heart failure is orthotopic heart transplantation. Each year, it is estimated that more than 100,000 donor hearts are needed for cardiac transplantation procedures in the United States1-2. Due to the limited numbers of donors, only approximately 2,400 transplants are performed each year in the U.S.2. Numerous approaches, from cell therapy studies to implantation of mechanical assist devices, have been undertaken, either alone or in combination, in an attempt to coax the heart to repair itself or to rest the failing heart3. In spite of these efforts, ventricular assist devices are still largely used for the purpose of bridging to transplantation and the utility of cell therapies, while they hold some curative promise, is still limited to clinical trials. Additionally, direct xenotransplantation has been attempted but success has been limited due to immune rejection. Clearly, another strategy is required to produce additional organs for transplantation and, ideally, these organs would be autologous so as to avoid the complications associated with rejection and lifetime immunosuppression. Decellularization is a process of removing resident cells from tissues to expose the native extracellular matrix (ECM) or scaffold. Perfusion decellularization offers complete preservation of the three dimensional structure of the tissue, while leaving the bulk of the mechanical properties of the tissue intact4. These scaffolds can be utilized for repopulation with healthy cells to generate research models and, possibly, much needed organs for transplantation. We have exposed the scaffolds from neonatal mice (P3), known to retain remarkable cardiac regenerative capabilities,5-8 to detergent mediated decellularization and we repopulated these scaffolds with murine cardiac cells. These studies support the feasibility of engineering a neonatal heart construct. They further allow for the investigation as to whether the ECM of early postnatal hearts may harbor cues that will result in improved recellularization strategies.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 Journal of Visualized Experiments.
- Cardiac regeneration
- Extracellular matrix
- Issue 117