Compressed collagen gel as the scaffold for skin engineering.
ABSTRACT Collagen gel scaffolds can potentially be utilized as cell seeded systems for skin tissue engineering. However, its dramatic contraction after being mixed with cells and its mechanical weakness are the drawbacks for its application to skin engineering. In this study, a compressed collagen gel scaffold was fabricated through the rapid expulsion of liquid from reconstituted gels by the application of 'plastic compression'(PC) technique. Both compressed and uncompressed gels were characterized with their gel contraction rate, morphology, the viability of seeded cells, their mechanical properties and the feasibility as a scaffold for constructing tissue-engineered skin. The results showed that the compression could significantly reduce the contraction of the collagen gel and improve its mechanical property. In addition, seeded dermal fibroblasts survived well in the compressed gel and seeded epidermal cells gradually developed into a stratified epidermal layer, and thus formed tissue engineered skin. This study reveals the potential of using compressed collagen gel as a scaffold for skin engineering.
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ABSTRACT: Topographic features are well known to influence cell behaviour and can provide a powerful tool for engineering complex, functional tissues. This study aimed to investigate the mechanisms of formation of a stable micro-topography on plastic compressed (PC) collagen gels. The uni-directional fluid flow that accompanies PC of collagen gels creates a fluid leaving surface (FLS) and a non-fluid leaving surface (non-FLS). Here we tested the hypothesis that the resulting anisotropy in collagen density and stiffness between FLS and non-FLS would influence the fidelity and stability of micro-grooves patterned on these surfaces. A pattern template of parallel-aligned glass fibres was introduced to the FLS or non-FLS either at the start of the compression or halfway through, when a dense FLS had already formed. Results showed that both early and late patterning of the FLS generated grooves that had depth (25 ±7 µm and 19 ±8 µm, respectively) and width (55 ±11 µm and 50 ±12 µm, respectively) which matched the glass fibre diameter (50 µm). In contrast, early and late patterning of the non-FLS gave much wider (151 ±50 µm and 89 ±14 µm, respectively) and shallower (10 ±2.7 µm and 13 ±3.5 µm, respectively) grooves than expected. The depth to width ratio of the grooves generated on the FLS remained unaltered under static culture conditions over 2 weeks, indicating that grooves were stable under long term active cell-mediated matrix remodelling. These results indicate that the FLS, characterised by a higher matrix collagen density and stiffness than the non-FLS, provides the most favourable mechanical surface for precise engineering of a stable micro-topography in 3D collagen hydrogel scaffolds.European cells & materials 01/2012; 23:28-40. · 4.89 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The use of collagen scaffold in tissue engineering is on the rise, as modifications to mechanical properties are becoming more effective in strengthening constructs whilst preserving the natural biocompatibility. The combined technique of plastic compression and cross-linking is known to increase the mechanical strength of the collagen construct. Here, a modified protocol for engineering these collagen constructs is used to bring together a plastic compression method, combined with controlled photochemical crosslinking using riboflavin as a photoinitiator. In order to ascertain the effects of the photochemical crosslinking approach and the impact of the crosslinks created upon the properties of the engineered collagen constructs, the constructs were characterized both at the macroscale and at the fibrillar level. The resulting constructs were found to have a 2.5 fold increase in their Young's modulus, reaching a value of 650 ± 73 kPa when compared to non-crosslinked control collagen constructs. This value is not yet comparable to that of native tendon, but it proves that combining a crosslinking methodology to collagen tissue engineering may offer a new approach to create stronger, biomimetic constructs. A notable outcome of crosslinking collagen with riboflavin is the collagen's greater affinity for water; it was demonstrated that riboflavin crosslinked collagen retains water for a longer period of time compared to non-cross-linked control samples. The affinity of the cross-linked collagen to water also resulted in an increase of individual collagen fibrils' cross-sectional area as function of the crosslinking. These changes in water affinity and fibril morphology induced by the process of crosslinking could indicate that the crosslinked chains created during the photochemical crosslinking process may act as intermolecular hydrophilic nanosprings. These intermolecular nanosprings would be responsible for a change in the fibril morphology to accommodate variable volume of water within the fibril.Journal of Materials Science Materials in Medicine 09/2013; 25(1). DOI:10.1007/s10856-013-5038-7 · 2.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A synthetic amino acid (with a stilbene residue in the main chain) containing a tripeptide-based organogelator has been discovered. This peptide-based synthetic molecule 1 self-assembles in various organic solvents to form an organogel. The gel has been thoroughly characterized by using various microscopic techniques including field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), UV-visible and fluorescence spectroscopy, and rheology. Morphological investigations using FESEM and AFM show a nanofibrillar network structure. Interestingly, the organogel is photoresponsive and a gel-sol transition occurred by irradiating the gel with UV light of 365 nm for 2 h as shown by the UV and fluorescence study. This photoresponsive fluorescent gel holds promise for new peptide-based soft materials with interesting applications.Chemistry - An Asian Journal 01/2013; 8(1). DOI:10.1002/asia.201200617 · 3.94 Impact Factor