Acellular scaffolds from complex whole organs such as lung are being increasingly studied for ex vivo organ generation and for in vitro studies of cell-extracellular matrix interactions. We have established effective methods for efficient de and recellularization of large animal and human lungs including techniques which allow multiple small segments (∼ 1-3 cm(3)) to be excised that retain 3-dimensional lung structure. Coupled with the use of a synthetic pleural coating, cells can be selectively physiologically inoculated via preserved vascular and airway conduits. Inoculated segments can be further sliced for high throughput studies. Further, we demonstrate thermography as a powerful noninvasive technique for monitoring perfusion decellularization and for evaluating preservation of vascular and airway networks following human and porcine lung decellularization. Collectively, these techniques are a significant step forward as they allow high throughput in vitro studies from a single lung or lobe in a more biologically relevant, three-dimensional acellular scaffold.
Keywords: Acellular matrix; Endothelial cell; Epithelial cell; Extracellular matrix (ECM); Human lung fibroblast; Mesenchymal stem cell.
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