Urea-extracted tissue ECM exhibits tissue-specific bioactivity. (A) Effect of soluble urea extracted ECMs on human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) pellet culture. Gene expression analysis on D21 showed tenogenesis of tendon ECM (tECM) and chondrogenesis of cartilage ECM (cECM). (B) Phase contract microscope showed spindle-shaped cells in tECM-supplemented hMSCs culture group and cobblestone morphology with cECM supplementation. (Tuan, et al., 2017)

Prof. Michelle Wang’s has developed a urea-based, non-enzymatic, low-cost approach for preparing soluble ECM extracts from juvenile bovine tendons, which shows strong tenogenic effects on adult stem cells. Our group are currently seeking to understand the mechanisms of actions of tendon ECM bioactivity and identifying the functional components to justify their rational application for tendon tissue engineering.