The impact of detergents on the tissue decellularization process: A ToF-SIMS study

Lisa J. White, Adam J. Taylor, Denver M. Faulk, Timothy J. Keane, Lindsey T. Saldin, Janet E. Reing, Ilea T. Swinehart, Neill J. Turner, Buddy D. Ratner, Stephen F. Badylak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

187 Scopus citations


Biologic scaffolds are derived from mammalian tissues, which must be decellularized to remove cellular antigens that would otherwise incite an adverse immune response. Although widely used clinically, the optimum balance between cell removal and the disruption of matrix architecture and surface ligand landscape remains a considerable challenge. Here we describe the use of time of flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (ToF-SIMS) to provide sensitive, molecular specific, localized analysis of detergent decellularized biologic scaffolds. We detected residual detergent fragments, specifically from Triton X-100, sodium deoxycholate and sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) in decellularized scaffolds; increased SDS concentrations from 0.1% to 1.0% increased both the intensity of SDS fragments and adverse cell outcomes. We also identified cellular remnants, by detecting phosphate and phosphocholine ions in PAA and CHAPS decellularized scaffolds. The present study demonstrates ToF-SIMS is not only a powerful tool for characterization of biologic scaffold surface molecular functionality, but also enables sensitive assessment of decellularization efficacy. Statement of Significance We report here on the use of a highly sensitive analytical technique, time of flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (ToF-SIMS) to characterize detergent decellularized scaffolds. ToF-SIMS detected cellular remnants and residual detergent fragments; increased intensity of the detergent fragments correlated with adverse cell matrix interactions. This study demonstrates the importance of maintaining a balance between cell removal and detergent disruption of matrix architecture and matrix surface ligand landscape. This study also demonstrates the power of ToF-SIMS for the characterization of decellularized scaffolds and capability for assessment of decellularization efficacy. Future use of biologic scaffolds in clinical tissue reconstruction will benefit from the fundamental results described in this work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-219
Number of pages13
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Biologic scaffold
  • Decellularization
  • Detergents
  • Extracellular matrix
  • ToF-SIMS


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