Biologic scaffold materials composed of allogeneic or xenogeneic extracellular matrix are commonly used for the repair and functional reconstruction of injured and missing tissues. These naturally occurring bioscaffolds are manufactured by the removal of the cellular content from source tissues while preserving the structural and functional molecular units of the remaining extracellular matrix (ECM). The mechanisms by which these bioscaffolds facilitate constructive remodeling and favorable clinical outcomes include release or creation of effector molecules that recruit endogenous stem/progenitor cells to the site of scaffold placement and modulation of the innate immune response, specifically the activation of an anti-inflammatory macrophage phenotype. The methods by which ECM biologic scaffolds are prepared, the current understanding of in vivo scaffold remodeling, and the associated clinical outcomes are discussed in this article.
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