Collections > UNC Scholarly Publications > BioMed Central > Towards the creation of decellularized organ constructs using irreversible electroporation and active mechanical perfusion

Abstract Background Despite advances in transplant surgery and general medicine, the number of patients awaiting transplant organs continues to grow, while the supply of organs does not. This work outlines a method of organ decellularization using non-thermal irreversible electroporation (N-TIRE) which, in combination with reseeding, may help supplement the supply of organs for transplant. Methods In our study, brief but intense electric pulses were applied to porcine livers while under active low temperature cardio-emulation perfusion. Histological analysis and lesion measurements were used to determine the effects of the pulses in decellularizing the livers as a first step towards the development of extracellular scaffolds that may be used with stem cell reseeding. A dynamic conductivity numerical model was developed to simulate the treatment parameters used and determine an irreversible electroporation threshold. Results Ninety-nine individual 1000 V/cm 100-μs square pulses with repetition rates between 0.25 and 4 Hz were found to produce a lesion within 24 hours post-treatment. The livers maintained intact bile ducts and vascular structures while demonstrating hepatocytic cord disruption and cell delamination from cord basal laminae after 24 hours of perfusion. A numerical model found an electric field threshold of 423 V/cm under specific experimental conditions, which may be used in the future to plan treatments for the decellularization of entire organs. Analysis of the pulse repetition rate shows that the largest treated area and the lowest interstitial density score was achieved for a pulse frequency of 1 Hz. After 24 hours of perfusion, a maximum density score reduction of 58.5 percent had been achieved. Conclusions This method is the first effort towards creating decellularized tissue scaffolds that could be used for organ transplantation using N-TIRE. In addition, it provides a versatile platform to study the effects of pulse parameters such as pulse length, repetition rate, and field strength on whole organ structures.