Med Eng Phys 2016 09 17;38(9):862-9. Epub 2016 Mar 17.
DIMEAS, Politecnico di Torino, Cso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy. Electronic address:
Human acellular dermal matrices (HADMs) are used in reconstructive surgery as scaffolds promoting autologous tissue regeneration. Critical to the HADM ability to remodel and integrate into the host tissue is the removal of cells while maintaining an intact extracellular architecture. The objective of this work is to develop a methodology to analyse the mechanical properties of HADMs after decellularization to identify its ideal form of treatment and its duration. Two different decellularization techniques were used as a benchmark: the first is a well-established technique (incubation in NaOH for 1-7 weeks), and the second is an innovative technique developed by this research group (incubation in DMEM (Dulbecco's modified Eagle medium) for 1-7 weeks). After decellularization, the specimens underwent uniaxial tensile tests, and experimental data were represented with stress strain curves, calculating both engineering and true values. Mechanical tests have led to the identification of the optimal method (NaOH or DMEM) and duration for the decellularization treatment; differences between engineering and true values can reach 84%, but the engineering values remain useful to make comparisons, providing reliable indications with a simpler experimental set up and data processing.