Manufacturing considerations for producing and assessing decellularized extracellular matrix hydrogels.
In this study, we evaluate different manufacturing parameters for making an injectable biomaterial derived from skeletal muscle from pigs that has been stripped of all cells, leaving behind only the extracellular matrix of the tissue. We evaluate variability between animal sources, methods to reduce pathogen contamination, and methods of collecting the tissue. Multiple methods of analysis were used to evaluate appropriate conditions for manufacturing.
Although several decellularized extracellular matrix (ECM) sheets or patches have been commercialized for use in the clinic, only one injectable decellularized ECM hydrogel, a decellularized myocardial matrix, has reached clinical trials. Consequently, very little information is available for established manufacturing standards or assessments of these materials. Here we present detailed methodology for investigating three parameters related to manufacturing optimization for a porcine derived skeletal muscle ECM hydrogel - animal-to-animal variability, bioburden reduction, and harvesting conditions. Results from characterization assays, including residual dsDNA content and sulfated glycosaminoglycan content, did not yield noteworthy differences amongst individual animals or following the addition of a bioburden reducing agent. However, the tissue collected under different harvesting conditions contained varying amounts of fat, and the protein compositions of the decellularized products differed, which could ultimately impact subsequent efficacy in vitro or in vivo. As decellularized ECM hydrogels continue to be evaluated for various applications, the differences between laboratory-scale and manufacturing-scale material batches should be thoroughly considered to avoid costly and timely optimization during scale-up.