Bone and Joint Institute

Document Type


Publication Date



Journal of Visualized Experiments





URL with Digital Object Identifier



© 2017 Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Cell function is mediated by interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM), which has complex tissue-specific composition and architecture. The focus of this article is on the methods for fabricating ECM-derived porous foams and microcarriers for use as biologically-relevant substrates in advanced 3D in vitro cell culture models or as pro-regenerative scaffolds and cell delivery systems for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Using decellularized tissues or purified insoluble collagen as a starting material, the techniques can be applied to synthesize a broad array of tissue-specific bioscaffolds with customizable geometries. The approach involves mechanical processing and mild enzymatic digestion to yield an ECM suspension that is used to fabricate the three-dimensional foams or microcarriers through controlled freezing and lyophilization procedures. These pure ECM-derived scaffolds are highly porous, yet stable without the need for chemical crosslinking agents or other additives that may negatively impact cell function. The scaffold properties can be tuned to some extent by varying factors such as the ECM suspension concentration, mechanical processing methods, or synthesis conditions. In general, the scaffolds are robust and easy to handle, and can be processed as tissues for most standard biological assays, providing a versatile and user-friendly 3D cell culture platform that mimics the native ECM composition. Overall, these straightforward methods for fabricating customized ECM-derived foams and microcarriers may be of interest to both biologists and biomedical engineers as tissue-specific cell-instructive platforms for in vitro and in vivo applications.


Copyright © 2017 Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

The article was originally published at:

Kornmuller, A., Brown, C. F. C., Yu, C., Flynn, L. E. Fabrication of Extracellular Matrix-derived Foams and Microcarriers as Tissue-specific Cell Culture and Delivery Platforms. J. Vis. Exp. (122), e55436, doi:10.3791/55436 (2017).

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.