A bioartificial rat heart tissue: Perfusion decellularization and characterization
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Despite remarkable advancement in the past decades, heart-related defects are still prone to progress irreversibly and can eventually lead to heart failure. A personalized extracellular matrix-based bioartificial heart created by allografts/xenografts emerges as an alternative as it can retain the original three-dimensional architecture combined with a preserved natural heart extracellular matrix. This study aimed at developing a procedure for decellularizing heart tissue harvested from rats and evaluating decellularization efficiency in terms of residual nuclear content and structural properties. Tissue sections showed no or little visible cell nuclei in decellularized heart, whereas the native heart showed dense cellularity. In addition, there was no significant variation in the alignment of muscle fibers upon decellularization. Furthermore, no significant difference was detected between native and decellularized hearts in terms of fiber diameter. Our findings demonstrate that fiber alignment and diameter can serve as additional parameters in the characterization of biological heart scaffolds as these provide valuable input for evaluating structural preservation of decellularized heart. The bioartificial scaffold formed here can be functionalized with patient's own material and utilized in regenerative engineering.