Extracellular matrix (ECM) provides biophysical and biochemical stimuli to support self-renewal, proliferation, survival, and differentiation of surrounding cells due to its content of diverse bioactive molecules. Due to these characteristics, the ECM has been recently considered a promising candidate for the creation of biological scaffolds to boost tissue regeneration. Emerging studies have demonstrated that decellularized human tissues could resemble the native ECM in their structural and biochemical profiles, preserving the three-dimensional (3D) architecture and the content of fundamental biological molecules. Hence, decellularized ECM can be employed to promote tissue remodeling, repair, and functional reconstruction of many organs. Selecting the appropriate decellularization procedure is crucial to obtain acellular tissues that retain the characteristics of the ideal microenvironment for cells. The protocol described here provides a detailed step-by-step description of the decellularization method to obtain a reproducible and effective cell-free biological ECM. Skin fragments from patients undergoing plastic surgery were scaled down and decellularized using a combination of sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS), Triton X-100, and antibiotics. To promote the regular and homogeneous transport of the solution through the samples, they were enclosed in embedding cassettes to ensure protection from mechanical insults. After the decellularization procedure, the snow-white color of skin fragments indicated complete and successful decellularization. Additionally, decellularized samples showed an intact and well-preserved architecture. The results suggest that the proposed decellularization method was effective, fast, and reproducible and protected samples from architectural damages.
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