Tubular scaffolds are prepared from collagen fibrils by a casting, molding, freezing and lyophilization process. The lyophilized constructs are compressed, corrugated and subsequently chemically crosslinked with carbodiimide in the corrugated position. This procedure induces elastic-like properties in the scaffolds that could be repeatedly stretched five times their original length for at least 1000 cycles. The induced elasticity is entropy driven and can be explained by the introduction of hydrophobic patches that are disrupted upon stretching thus increasing the hydrophobic-hydrophilic interface. The scaffolds are cytocompatible as demonstrated by fibroblast cell culture.
In conclusion, a new straightforward technique is described to endow unique elastic characteristics to scaffolds prepared from type I collagen alone. Scaffolds may be useful for engineering of dynamic tissues such as blood vessels, ligaments, and lung.
- Regenerative medicine