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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 1541823, 16 pages
Review Article

Emerging Implications for Extracellular Matrix-Based Technologies in Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation

1McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 152192, USA
2School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 152613, USA
3Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 152134, USA
4Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 152615, USA
5Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

Received 15 July 2015; Accepted 5 October 2015

Academic Editor: Pavla Jendelova

Copyright © 2016 Ricardo Londono et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Despite recent progress in vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA), limitations including complex, high dose immunosuppression regimens, lifelong risk of toxicity from immunosuppressants, acute and most critically chronic graft rejection, and suboptimal nerve regeneration remain particularly challenging obstacles restricting clinical progress. When properly configured, customized, and implemented, biomaterials derived from the extracellular matrix (ECM) retain bioactive molecules and immunomodulatory properties that can promote stem cell migration, proliferation and differentiation, and constructive functional tissue remodeling. The present paper reviews the emerging implications of ECM-based technologies in VCA, including local immunomodulation, tissue repair, nerve regeneration, minimally invasive graft targeted drug delivery, stem cell transplantation, and other donor graft manipulation.