Generation And Evaluation Of Decellularized Hypertensive Rat Lung Scaffolds For Tissue Engineering Applications
There are not enough donor lungs available to meet the increasing demand for lung transplantation. To compound the problem, transplant recipients have a projected survival time of only 5.7 years despite life-long immunosuppression. An alternative approach for acquiring transplantable lungs and reducing post-operative complications may be possible through tissue engineering. Perfusion-decellularization generates natural, three-dimensional extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffolds of an organ that are apt for tissue engineering. Decellularization of the heart, lung, liver, kidney, and pancreas has been reported in animal models and from human tissue. Decellularization of fibrotic and emphysematic lungs indicated that this technique can efficiently remove cells from diseased tissueâ€”a potential source of materials for engineering of transplantable lung tissue. Pulmonary hypertension (PHT) is a vascular disease characterized by increased pulmonary vascular resistance leading to right heart failure and death. Lungs damaged by PHT are unsuitable for transplantation; however, decellularization of these organs may provide scaffolds appropriate for ex vivo lung engineering. Monocrotaline-induced PHT (MCT-PHT) is a well-established model of this disease in rats closely resembling the clinical presentation of PHT in humans. Thus, decellularization and recellularization of hypertensive lungs was evaluated using the MCT-PHT model. Decellularization of control and MCT-PHT Sprague-Dawley rat lungs was accomplished by treating the lungs with Triton X-100, sodium deoxycholate (SDC), NaCl, and DNase. The resulting acellular matrices were extensively characterized by molecular, mechanical, and structural analyses revealing that decellularization was able to remove cells while leaving the ECM components and lung ultrastructure intact; however, the vasculature of MCT-PHT acellular lung scaffolds was narrower than control scaffoldsâ€”a hallmark of PHT. To evaluate the effect of narrowed vasculature on the use of hypertensive lungs for tissue engineering, an optimal vascular recellularization technique was developed. Gravity-based seeding of endothelial cells followed by bioreactor-based whole-organ culture resulted in efficient vascular recellularization of control lung scaffolds. However, this method led to heterogeneous re-endothelialization of the vasculature of MCT-PHT matrices suggesting that additional manipulation or optimization is required.