Group reporting in Tissue Engineering, Part A hopes success will aid synthetic matrix design for clinical use.

A group of scientists describe what they claim is the first ever use of cell-depleted rat lung as a natural growth matrix for generating new lung cells and 3-D lung tissue structures from embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Writing in the September issue of Tissue Engineering, Part A, the multiuniversity team describes the process for removing the cellular component of natural lung tissue to generate a growth matrix for ESCs. The paper is titled “Influence of Acellular Natural Lung Matrix on Murine Embryonic Stem cell Differentiation and Tissue Formation.”

Led by Joaquin Cortiella, M.D., at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, the researchers went on to show that the lung tissue matrix led to evidence of improved cell retenion, matrix repopulation, and ESC differentiation into cell types present in healthy lungs. They claim there was also evidence that the cells could organize into 3-D structures characteristic of complex tissues and produced chemical signals and growth factors required to guide lung tissue function and development.

“We found that a combination of mechanical, enzymatic, and physical processes provided the most efficient and gentle way to remove the cells from the underlying lung ECM without significant loss of collagen or elastin, the major structural components of natural lung,” the authors report. “The production and use of decellularized lung to support development of lung tissue may lead to design of better synthetic matrices for clinical use and to the eventual production of engineered lung tissues on matrices that are suitable for regenerative medicine purposes.”

The research team included scientists from Stanford University, Brown Medical School and Duke University.

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