a decellularized “ghost” heart
aaaaaaaay extracellular matrix
How cool is it that when you take all the cells out of an organ it still looks like an organ?
I remember when I was in high school and still very confused about how tissues worked, because all anyone taught me was that we’re made up of piles of cells hung on bones. But that’s not how it is! Cells build themselves little hammocks of polymer and densely branched glycoproteins; we’re like onions, layers of membrane over tough rubbery collagen, huge protein scaffolds cradling slippery organs.
Bodies are not made of cells — bodies are made by cells.
Shit, major kudos to OP for making me aware of this, and isozyme for explaining — I had no idea the extracellular matrix was so substantial.
This is doubly cool because a heart that has been “washed” of cells like this is an incredible leap forward for donor organs. It’s much harder to reject something that doesn’t have non-host cells. As I understand it, they would use something like this with stem cells from the recipient to basically custom-make a new heart for themselves.