Biomed Res Int. 2022 Oct 11;2022:6884370. doi: 10.1155/2022/6884370. eCollection 2022.
Decellularized ECMs have been used as biological scaffolds for tissue repair due to their tissue-specific biochemical and mechanical composition, poorly simulated by other materials. It is used as patches and powders, and it could be further processed via enzymatic digestion under acidic conditions using pepsin. However, part of the bioactivity is lost during the digestion process due to protein denaturation. Here, stepwise digestion was developed to prepare a competent biomaterial for osteogenesis from three different ECM sources. In addition, three different proteases were compared to evaluate the most effective digestion protocol for specific cellular processes. GAGs and peptide quantification showed that the stepwise method yielded a higher concentration of bioactive residues. Circular dichroism analysis also showed that the stepwise approach preserved the secondary structures better. The protein profiles of the digested ECMs were analyzed, and it was found to be highly diverse and tissue-specific. The digestion of ECM from pericardium produced peptides originated from 94 different proteins, followed by 48 proteins in ECM from tendon and 35 proteins in ECM from bone. In addition, digested products from pericardium ECM yielded increased proliferation and differentiation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells to mature osteoblasts.