Decellularized biologic scaffolds are gaining popularity over synthetic biomaterials as naturally derived materials capable of promoting improved healing. Nevertheless, the most widely used biologic material - acellular dermal matrix (ADM) - exhibits slow repopulation and remodeling, which prevents integration. Additionally, engineering control of these materials is limited because they require a natural source for their production. In the current report, we demonstrate the feasibility of using genetically engineered animals to create decellularized biologic scaffolds with favorable extracellular matrix (ECM) properties. Specifically, we utilized skin from thrombospondin (TSP)-2 KO mice to derive various decellularized products. Scanning electron microscopy and mechanical testing showed that TSP-2 KO ADM exhibited an altered structure and a reduction in elastic modulus and ultimate tensile strength, respectively. When a powdered form of KO ADM was implanted subcutaneously, it was able to promote enhanced vascularization over WT. Additionally, when implanted subcutaneously, intact slabs of KO ADM were populated by higher number of host cells when compared to WT. In vitro studies confirmed the promigratory properties of KO ADM. Specifically, degradation products released by pepsin digestion of KO ADM induced greater cell migration than WT. Moreover, cell-derived ECM from TSP-2 null fibroblasts was more permissive to fibroblast migration. Finally, ADMs were implanted in a diabetic wound model to examine their ability to accelerate wound healing. KO ADM exhibited enhanced remodeling and vascular maturation, indicative of efficient integration. Overall, we demonstrate that genetic manipulation enables engineered ECM-based materials with increased regenerative potential.
Keywords: Decellularized; ECM (extracellular matrix); Genetically modified matrix; Regenerative medicine; Tissue engineering; Wound healing.
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