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Decellularization offers great potential to the field of tissue engineering, as this method gives rise to scaffold material with the native organ architecture by removing all cellular material and leaving much of the extracellular matrix (ECM) intact. However, many parameters may affect decellularization efficacy and ECM retention and, therefore, decellularization protocols need to be optimized for specific needs. This requires robust methods for comparison of decellularized tissue composition. Various representation methods are used in literature to express tissue composition (DNA, glycosaminoglycans, collagen, other ECM proteins, and growth factors). Here, we present and compare the various methods used and demonstrate that normalization to either dry or wet decellularized weight might be misleading and may overestimate true component retention. Moreover, the magnitude of the confounding effect is likely to be decellularization treatment dependent. As a result, we propose alternative comparison strategies: normalization to whole organ or to a unit of whole initial organ weight. We believe proper assessment of decellularized tissue composition is paramount for the successful comparison of different decellularization protocols and clinical translation.

Original publication




Journal article


Artif Organs

Publication Date





778 - 784


-Decellularization, -Extracellular matrix, -Normalization, Tissue engineering-Decellularization-Normalization-Extracellular matrix, Animals, Collagen, DNA, Extracellular Matrix, Glycosaminoglycans, Male, Myocardium, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Tissue Engineering, Tissue Scaffolds, Water