Decellularized Muscle Supports New Muscle Fibers and Improves Function Following Volumetric Injury

Michael J. McClure, David J. Cohen, Allison N. Ramey, Caroline B. Bivens, Satya Mallu, Jonathan E. Isaacs, Emily Imming, Yen Chen Huang, Moonhae Sunwoo, Zvi Schwartz, Barbara D. Boyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Current strategies to treat volumetric muscle loss use primarily pedicle or free muscle transfers, but these grafts fail to adequately regenerate functional tissue. Decellularized soft tissue grafts possess physical and chemical cues to promote muscle regeneration, suggesting their potential for use in large muscle defects. In this study, we developed a decellularized muscle matrix (DMM) graft using rat gastrocnemius. Anisotropy and chemical components of the extracellular matrix were retained, including laminin, fibronectin, and collagen. We compared the ability of DMM, autologous muscle grafts (clinical standard), and type I collagen plugs (negative control) to support muscle regeneration. DMM supported regeneration over a 56-day period in 1 × 1 cm and 1.5 × 1 cm gastrocnemius defects in rats. Muscle function tests demonstrated improved muscle recovery in rats with DMM grafts when compared to collagen. Histological sections were assessed using morphometrics and immunostaining. DMM supported muscle regeneration with less fibrosis and more de novo neuromuscular receptors than either autograft or collagen. Overall, our results indicate that DMM may be used as a muscle replacement graft based on its ability to improve muscle function recovery, promote muscle regeneration, and support new neuromuscular junctions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1228-1241
Number of pages14
JournalTissue Engineering - Part A
Issue number15-16
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Decellularized muscle
  • function
  • regeneration
  • trauma
  • volumetric muscle loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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