Extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffolds, obtained through detergent-based decellularization of native kidneys, represent the most promising platform for investigations aiming at manufacturing kidneys for transplant purposes. We previously showed that decellularization of the human kidney yields renal ECM scaffolds (hrECMs) that maintain their basic molecular components, are cytocompatible, stimulate angiogenesis, and show an intact innate vasculature. However, evidence that the decellularization preserves glomerular morphometric characteristics, physiological parameters (pressures and resistances of the vasculature bed), and biological properties of the renal ECM, including retention of important growth factors (GFs), is still missing. Methods To address these issues, we studied the morphometry and resilience of hrECMs' native vasculature with resin casting at electronic microscopy and pulse-wave measurements, respectively. Moreover, we determined the fate of 40 critical GFs post decellularization with a glass chip-based multiplex enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay array and in vitro immunofluorescence. Results Our method preserves the 3-dimensional conformation of the native glomerulus. Resin casting and pulse-wave measurements, showed that hrECMs preserves the microvascular morphology and morphometry, and physiological function. Moreover, GFs including vascular endothelial growth factor and its receptors are retained within the matrices. Conclusions Our results indicate that discarded human kidneys are a suitable source of renal scaffolds because they maintain a well-preserved structure and function of the vasculature, as well as GFs that are fundamental to achieve a satisfying recellularization of the scaffold in vivo due to their angiogenic properties.
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