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Polymers 2010, 2(4), 664-680; doi:10.3390/polym2040664

Tailoring Mechanical Properties of Collagen-Based Scaffolds for Vascular Tissue Engineering: The Effects of pH, Temperature and Ionic Strength on Gelation

Laboratory for Biomaterials and Bioengineering, Department of Materials Engineering & Research Centre, Quebec University Hospital, Laval University, Pavillon Pouliot, 1745-E, Quebec City, G1K 7P4, Canada
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Received: 8 October 2010 / Revised: 27 October 2010 / Accepted: 2 December 2010 / Published: 6 December 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Polymers)
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Abstract

Collagen gels have been widely studied for applications in tissue engineering because of their biological implications. Considering their use as scaffolds for vascular tissue engineering, the main limitation has always been related to their low mechanical properties. During the process of in vitro self-assembly, which leads to collagen gelation, the size of the fibrils, their chemical interactions, as well as the resulting microstructure are regulated by three main experimental conditions: pH, ionic strength and temperature. In this work, these three parameters were modulated in order to increase the mechanical properties of collagen gels. The effects on the gelation process were assessed by turbidimetric and scanning electron microscopy analyses. Turbidity measurements showed that gelation was affected by all three factors and scanning electron images confirmed that major changes occurred at the microstructural level. Mechanical tests showed that the compressive and tensile moduli increased by four- and three-fold, respectively, compared to the control. Finally, viability tests confirmed that these gels are suitable as scaffolds for cellular adhesion and proliferation. View Full-Text
Keywords: collagen gel; scaffolds; tissue engineering; cell viability; mechanical properties; scanning electron microscopy collagen gel; scaffolds; tissue engineering; cell viability; mechanical properties; scanning electron microscopy
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Achilli, M.; Mantovani, D. Tailoring Mechanical Properties of Collagen-Based Scaffolds for Vascular Tissue Engineering: The Effects of pH, Temperature and Ionic Strength on Gelation. Polymers 2010, 2, 664-680.

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