Tissue decellularization is a techniques which aims the substution of artificial scaffolds by decellularized organs. Decellularized tissues have several advantages with respect to the man-made scaffolds since they reproduce much more accurately the structure of the extracellular matrix in which cells live in-vivo, and may even incorporate some of the chemical and mechanical signals which lead the cells to behave in a determined 'realistic' way.
However, several considerations must be taken into account when dealing with these tissue-based scaffolds. The first one is that before being used as scaffolds, all the cells and biological rests of the original tissue content must be completely removed. This process is knows as "decellularization" and is usually accomplished by circulating detergent-based solutions through the organ walls. Those solutions destroy and remove all the original living cells without affecting the ECM tissue which, in the end, results in an 'empty' matrix tissue.
Although conceived to develop culture under flow conditions, the EBERS tubular chambers can be straightforwardly used for decellularization experiments just by replacing the culture media by a detergent solution.
First step in the decellularization process is harvesting a tissue or organ from a donor.
Next, the the organ is inserted in the Static Tubular Chamber. Both luminal and the external circuits are used to make the detergent solution go through the sample.
The color of the organ starts turning from red to white as the remaining blood and components are taken away from the extracellular matrix.
When the decullularization process is finished, the tissue present a white color corresponding to the reamining protein structures composing the ECM.
Once all the original cells are removed from the tissue, the sample is washed and is ready to be recellularized. The Static Tubular Chamber can be used again for this purpose just by replacing the detergent medium by culture medium with a high cell concentration solution. As the medium is pumped through the scaffols walls, cell get attached to it.