Kidney diseases are recognized as a major health problem, which affect 10% of the population. Because currently available therapies have many limitations, some tissue engineering strategies have been emerging as promising approaches in this field.
In this work, porcine kidneys were decellularized to obtain decellularized kidney extracellular matrix (dKECM). Our results demonstrate a successful protocol of decellularization characterized by the removal of nucleic acid material and preservation of collagen and glycosaminoglycans. Blends of polycaprolactone (PCL) and dKECM were prepared by electrospinning and characterized. The biological performance of the membranes was tested with a human kidney cell line (HK-2) for 7 days. It was observed that cellular metabolic activity, proliferation and protein content increased with an increase in dKECM concentrations (30, 50 and 70%). Additionally, the expression of zona occludens-1 was revealed on dKECM-containing membranes but not on pure PCL membranes.
To the best of our knowledge this is the first time that natural extracellular matrix is used to mimic the kidney basement membrane as an in vitromodel. This could be a valuable tool for regenerative nephrology and may have an impact on the development of kidney advanced therapies in the future.