Decellularization of the Murine Cardiopulmonary Complex

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We present here a decellularization protocol for mouse heart and lungs. It produces structural ECM scaffolds that can be used to analyze ECM topology and composition. It is based on a microsurgical procedure designed to catheterize the trachea and aorta of a euthanized mouse to perfuse the heart and lungs with decellularizing agents. The decellularized cardiopulmonary complex can subsequently be immunostained to reveal the location of structural ECM proteins. The whole procedure can be completed in 4 days.

The ECM scaffolds resulting from this protocol are free of dimensional distortions. The absence of cells enables structural examination of ECM structures down to submicron resolution in 3D. This protocol can be applied to healthy and diseased tissue from mice as young as 4-weeks old, including mouse models of fibrosis and cancer, opening the way to determine ECM remodeling associated with cardiopulmonary disease.


  • Alejandro E Mayorca-guiliani
  • Maria Rafaeva
  • Oliver Willacy
  • Chris Madsen
  • Raphael Reuten
  • Janine T. Erler
External organisations
  • University of Copenhagen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May 30
Publication categoryResearch