Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 568–576 | Cite as

Extracellular Matrix as a Driver for Lung Regeneration

  • Jenna L. Balestrini
  • Laura E. Niklason


Extracellular matrix has manifold roles in tissue mechanics, guidance of cellular behavior, developmental biology, and regenerative medicine. Over the past several decades, various pre-clinical and clinical studies have shown that many connective tissues may be replaced and/or regenerated using suitable extracellular matrix scaffolds. More recently, decellularization of lung tissue has shown that gentle removal of cells can leave behind a “footprint” within the matrix that may guide cellular adhesion, differentiation and homing following cellular repopulation. Fundamental issues like understanding matrix composition and micro-mechanics remain difficult to tackle, largely because of a lack of available assays and tools for systematically characterizing intact matrix from tissues and organs. This review will critically examine the role of engineered and native extracellular matrix in tissue and lung regeneration, and provide insights into directions for future research and translation.


Biomaterials Lung decellularization Extracellular matrix Cell-matrix interactions Regenerative medicine Matrix mechanics 



This work was supported by a Grant NIH U01 HL111016-01 (to LEN). L.E.N. has a financial interest in Humacyte, Inc, a regenerative medicine company. Humacyte did not fund these studies, and Humacyte did not affect the design, interpretation, or reporting of any of the experiments herein.


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© Biomedical Engineering Society 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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