Decellularization of placentas: establishing a protocol

Biological biomaterials for tissue engineering purposes can be produced through tissue and/or organ decellularization. The remaining extracellular matrix (ECM) must be acellular and preserve its proteins and physical features. Placentas are organs of great interest because they are discarded after birth and present large amounts of ECM. Protocols for decellularization are tissue-specific and have not been established for canine placentas yet. This study aimed at analyzing a favorable method for decellularization of maternal and fetal portions of canine placentas. Canine placentas were subjected to ten preliminary tests to analyze the efficacy of parameters such as the type of detergents, freezing temperatures and perfusion. Two protocols were chosen for further analyses using histology, scanning electron microscopy, immunofluorescence and DNA quantification. Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) was the most effective detergent for cell removal. Freezing placentas before decellularization required longer periods of incubation in different detergents. Both perfusion and immersion methods were capable of removing cells. Placentas decellularized using Protocol I (1% SDS, 5 mM EDTA, 50 mM TRIS, and 0.5% antibiotic) preserved the ECM structure better, but Protocol I was less efficient to remove cells and DNA content from the ECM than Protocol II (1% SDS, 5 mM EDTA, 0.05% trypsin, and 0.5% antibiotic).