Xenogeneic tissues are derived from other animal species and provide a source of material for engineering mechanically functional tissue grafts, such as heart valves, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Xenogeneic tissues, however, contain molecules, known as antigens, which invoke an immune reaction following implantation into a patient. Therefore, it is necessary to remove the antigens from a xenogeneic tissue to prevent immune rejection of the graft. Antigen removal can be accomplished by treating a tissue with solutions and/or physical processes that disrupt cells and solubilize, degrade, or mask antigens. However, processes used for cell and antigen removal from tissues often have deleterious effects on the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the tissue, rendering the tissue unsuitable for implantation due to poor mechanical properties. Thus, the goal of an antigen removal process should be to reduce the antigen content of a xenogeneic tissue while preserving its mechanical functionality. To expand the clinical use of antigen-removed xenogeneic tissues as biomechanically functional grafts, it is essential that researchers examine tissue antigen content, ECM composition and architecture, and mechanical properties as new antigen removal processes are developed.
- Antigen removal
- Tissue replacement
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering