Several acquired or congenital pathological conditions can affect skeletal muscle leading to volumetric muscle loss (VML), i.e., an irreversible loss of muscle mass and function. Decellularized tissues are natural scaffolds derived from tissues or organs, in which the cellular and nuclear contents are eliminated, but the tridimensional (3D) structure and composition of the extracellular matrix (ECM) are preserved. Such scaffolds retain biological activity, are biocompatible and do not show immune rejection upon allogeneic or xenogeneic transplantation. An increase number of reports suggest that decellularized tissues/organs are promising candidates for clinical application in patients affected by VML. Here we explore the different strategies used to generate decellularized matrix and their therapeutic outcome when applied to treat VML conditions, both in patients and in animal models. The wide variety of VML models, source of tissue and methods of decellularization have led to discrepant results. Our review study evaluates the biological and clinical significance of reported studies, with the final aim to clarify the main aspects that should be taken into consideration for the future application of decellularized tissues in the treatment of VML conditions.
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