Terminal sterilization of equine-derived decellularized tendons for clinical use

Alessandro F. Pellegata, Marta Bottagisio, Federica Boschetti, Marco Ferroni, Monica Bortolin, Lorenzo Drago, Arianna B. Lovati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the last few years, the demand for tissue substitutes has increased and decellularized matrices has been widely proposed in the medical field to restore severe damages thanks to high biocompatibility and biomechanical properties similar to the native tissues. However, biological grafts represent a potential source of contamination and disease transmission; thus, there is the need to achieve acceptable levels of sterility. Several sterilization methods have been investigated with no consensus on the outcomes in terms of minimizing structural damages and preserving functional features of the decellularized matrix for transplantation in humans. With the aim of making decellularized tendons safe for clinical use, we evaluated the cytocompatibility, and biochemical, structural and biomechanical variations of decellularized equine tendons sterilized with peracetic acid or β-irradiation and differently wet- or dry- stored at 4 °C or − 80 °C, respectively. Considering that both sterilization and long-term storage are crucial steps that could not be avoided, our results pointed at ionizing β-rays as terminal sterilization method for decellularized grafts followed by frozen dry storage. Indeed, this approach can maintain the integrity of collagen-based structures and can avoid biomechanical changes, thus making xenogeneic decellularized tendons a promising candidate for clinical use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Biomechanical properties
  • Collagen
  • Decellularized tendons
  • Irradiations
  • Peracetic acid
  • Sterilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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