A quantitative method for evaluating the degradation of biologic scaffold materials

Thomas W. Gilbert, Ann M. Stewart-Akers, Stephen F. Badylak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Scaffolds derived from naturally occurring extracellular matrix (ECM) have found extensive use in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Many of these scaffolds are designed to degrade rapidly as they are replaced by new host tissue. Other scaffolds are chemically crosslinked to slow the rate of degradation or add strength to the scaffold. Commercially available ECM scaffolds have considerable variability with regards to tissue origin and methods of processing, and little is known about their rate of degradation and the fate of their degradation products. A novel method is described herein to integrally label ECM with a radioactive isotope (14C). It was found that a number of tissues are efficiently labeled, including heart, liver, trachea, pancreas, small intestine, and urinary bladder tissue. Of the tissues analyzed, only spleen was not found to contain detectable levels of 14C. The technique is extremely sensitive, accurate, and safe, but requires access to accelerator mass spectrometry, and is expensive and time consuming. This model represents the first described quantitative method to determine the rate of degradation for an ECM scaffold and to track the fate of the degradation products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-150
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Degradation
  • Extracellular matrix scaffold
  • Radioactive labeling


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