Acellular Urethra Bioscaffold: Decellularization of Whole Urethras for Tissue Engineering Applications

Irina N Simões, Paulo Vale, Shay Soker, Anthony Atala, Daniel Keller, Rute Noiva, Sandra Carvalho, Conceição Peleteiro, Joaquim M S Cabral, Daniel Eberli, Cláudia L da Silva, Pedro M Baptista

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Patients with stress urinary incontinence mainly suffer from malfunction of the urethra closure mechanism. We established the decellularization of porcine urethras to produce acellular urethra bioscaffolds for future tissue engineering applications, using bioscaffolds or bioscaffold-derived soluble products. Cellular removal was evaluated by H&E, DAPI and DNA quantification. The presence of specific ECM proteins was assessed through immunofluorescence staining and colorimetric assay kits. Human skeletal muscle myoblasts, muscle progenitor cells and adipose-derived stromal vascular fractions were used to evaluate the recellularization of the acellular urethra bioscaffolds. The mechanochemical decellularization system removed ~93% of tissue's DNA, generally preserving ECM's components and microarchitecture. Recellularization was achieved, though methodological advances are required regarding cell seeding strategies and functional assessment. Through microdissection and partial digestion, different urethra ECM-derived coating substrates were formulated (i.e. containing smooth or skeletal muscle ECM) and used to culture MPCs in vitro. The skeletal muscle ECM substrates enhanced fiber formation leading to the expression of the main skeletal muscle-related proteins and genes, as confirmed by immunofluorescence and RT-qPCR. The described methodology produced a urethra bioscaffold that retained vital ECM proteins and was liable to cell repopulation, a crucial first step towards the generation of urethra bioscaffold-based Tissue Engineering products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41934
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2017


  • Journal Article


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