Production and utilization of acellular lung scaffolds in tissue engineering

Joan Nichols, Jean A. Niles, Joaquin Cortiella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Pulmonary disease is a worldwide public health problem that reduces the quality of life and increases the need for hospital admissions as well as the risk for premature death for those affected. For many patients, lung transplantation is the only chance for survival. Unfortunately, there is a significant shortage of lungs for transplantation and since the lung is the most likely organ to be damaged during procurement many lungs deemed unacceptable for transplantation are simply discarded. Rather than discarding these lungs they can be used to produce three-dimensional acellular (AC) natural lung scaffolds for the generation of engineered lung tissue. AC scaffolds are lungs whose original cells have been destroyed by exposure to detergents and physical methods of removing cells and cell debris. This creates a lung scaffold from the skeleton of the lungs themselves. The scaffolds are then used to support adult, stem or progenitor cells which can be grown into functional lung tissue. Recent studies show that engineered lung tissues are capable of surviving after in vivo transplantation and support limited gas exchange. In the future engineered lung tissue has the potential to be used in clinical applications to replace lung functions lost following injury or disease. This manuscript discusses recent advances in development and use of AC scaffolds to support engineering of lung tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2185-2192
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Decellularized lung
  • acellular natural scaffold
  • lung extracellular matrix
  • natural matrix
  • tissue engineered lung

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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