A Novel Supercritical CO2-based Decellularization Method for Maintaining Scaffold Hydration and Mechanical Properties

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering


Decellularized tissues are commonly utilized as tissue engineering scaffolds. Decellularization by extended exposure to aqueous detergents can damage the microstructure or deposit cytotoxic residue. Supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) has been proposed for decellularization, but reportedly causes dehydration and scaffold embrittlement.

Presented herein is a novel decellularization method that preserves matrix hydration state and mechanical properties. Over 97% of the water in porcine aorta is maintained by presaturating scCO2 with water; however, complete decellularization was not attained by any process utilizing only scCO2. Instead, a novel hybrid method is presented that combines a brief (48 h) exposure of tissue to aqueous detergent, followed by washing with scCO2 (1 h). The hybrid method fully decellularized the tissue, as confirmed by histology and DNA quantification (<0.04 μg DNA/mg tissue). This hybrid treatment was faster than the standard method (2 days compared to 4–7 days), while preserving tissue structure and mechanical properties.


© The Journal of Supercritical Fluids, 2018, Elsevier

Casali, D. M., Handleton, R. M., Shazly, T., & Matthews, M. A. (2018). A novel supercritical CO2-based decellularization method for maintaining scaffold hydration and mechanical properties. The Journal Of Supercritical Fluids, 131. 72-81. doi:10.1016/j.supflu.2017.07.021