Injuries to the peripheral nerves represent a frequent cause of permanent disability in adults. The repair of large nerve lesions involves the use of autografts, but they have several inherent limitations. Overcoming these limitations, the use of decellularized nerve matrix has emerged as a promising treatment in tissue regenerative medicine. Here, we generate longer human decellularized nerve segments with a novel decellularization method, using nonionic, zwitterionic, and enzymatic incubations. Efficiency of decellularization was measured by DNA quantification and cell remnant analysis (myelin, S100, neurofilament). The evaluation of the extracellular matrix (collagen, laminin, and glycosaminoglycans) preservation was carried out by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or biochemical methods, along with histological and immunofluorescence analysis. Moreover, biomechanical properties and cytocompatibility were tested. Results showed that the decellularized nerves generated with this protocol have a concentration of DNA below the threshold of 50 ng/mg of dry tissue. Furthermore, myelin, S100, and MHCII proteins were absent, although some neurofilament remnants could be observed. Moreover, extracellular matrix proteins were well maintained, as well as the biomechanical properties, and the decellularized nerve matrix did not generate cytotoxicity. These results show that our method is effective for the generation of decellularized human nerve grafts. The generation of longer decellularized nerve segments would allow the understanding of the regenerative neurobiology after nerve injuries in both clinical assays and bigger animal models. Effective decellularization of human nerve matrix for regenerative medicine with a novel protocol. Combination of zwitterionic, non-ionic detergents, hyperosmotic solution and nuclease enzyme treatment remove cell remnants, maintain collagen, laminin and biomechanics without generating cytotoxic leachables.
- Extracellular Matrix/metabolism
- Nerve Tissue/metabolism
- Regenerative Medicine/methods