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Advances Toward Forming Synthetic Mimetic Tendon

  • Dilinazi Aishanjiang (a1), Emily C. Green (a1), Heng Li (a1) and Marilyn L. Minus (a1)

Abstract

Collagen is the most abundant protein present in the human body and found in connective tissues, bone, and tendon. It is also known as a natural resource for healing damaged skin tissues [1]. In this study, under specific microenvironment conditions, mimetic collagen gels were successfully formed synthetically from reconstituted Bovine type I collagen monomers. This was achieved by controlling ionic strength, temperature and pH, allowing fibrils with native mimetic D periodic banding structure to assemble spontaneously within the gels. In addition, by providing appropriate aging temperatures and times, mature collagen fibril growth is also realized in the gels in vitro. Mimetic gels were subsequently formed into fibers through a wet-spinning process. These spun fibers were found to preserve the native mimetic D periodic banding and fibrillar structure formed in the initial gels. As a result, the synthetic fibers resemble native tendon. Here structural development within the gel samples and fibers as a function of processing was analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Results in this study also show a potentially new route for the fabrication of synthetic collagen fibers mimicking tendon, which may find applications as engineered tissues or scaffolding materials.

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