Production of an acellular amniotic membrane matrix for use in tissue engineering

Tissue Eng. 2006 Aug;12(8):2117-29. doi: 10.1089/ten.2006.12.2117.


A clinical need exists for an immunologically compatible surgical patch with a wide range of uses including soft tissue replacement, body wall repair, cardiovascular applications, and as a wound dressing. This study aimed to produce an acellular matrix from human amniotic membrane for future assessment as a surgical patch and a delivery system for epithelial cells. A novel detergent-based protocol was modified to remove all cellular components from amnion to render it non-immunogenic. Amnion was harvested within 24 h after elective caesarean section (n = 12). One sample group remained fresh, whereas the other was treated with 0.03% (w/v) sodium dodecyl sulphate, with hypotonic buffer and protease inhibitors, nuclease treatment, and terminal sterilization, using peracetic acid (0.1% v/v). Fresh and treated amnion was analyzed histologically for the presence of cells, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), collagen, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), and elastin. Quantitative analysis was performed to determine levels of GAGs, elastin, hydroxyproline, denatured collagen, and DNA. The biomechanical properties of the membrane were determined using uniaxial tensile testing to failure. Histological analysis of treated human amnion showed complete removal of cellular components from the tissue; the histoarchitecture remained intact. All major structural components of the matrix were retained, including collagen type IV and I, laminin, and fibronectin. Differences were observed between fresh and decellularized amnion in matrix hydroxyproline (34.7 microg/mg vs 49.7 microg/mg), GAG (42.5 microg/mg vs 85.4 microg/mg), denatured collagen (2.2 microg/mg vs 1.7 microg/mg), and elastin (359.2 microg/mg vs 490.8 microg/mg) content. DNA content was diminished after treatment. Acellular matrices were biocompatible, cells grew in contact, and there was no decrease in cell viability after incubation with soluble tissue extracts. In addition, no significant reduction in ultimate tensile strength, extensibility, or elasticity was found after decellularization. Removal of the cellular components should eliminate immunological rejection. The resulting matrix was biocompatible in vitro and exhibited no adverse effects on cell morphology or viability.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Amnion / cytology
  • Amnion / physiology*
  • Amnion / ultrastructure
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Tissue Engineering*


  • Membranes, Artificial