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J Phys Chem Lett. 2011 Dec;2(16):2067-2072.

Permselectivity Replication of Artificial Glomerular Basement Membranes in Nanoporous Collagen Multilayers.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2136.


Basement membranes (BMs) play important roles in many biological functions such as tissue regeneration, cancer proliferation, nutrient/drug delivery, breathing, and many others. While there are many theoretical models, adequate experimental analogs of BMs describing basic physicochemical properties of BM, such as diffusion and permselectivity are not available. Taking BMs found in glomerulus of kidneys as an example, adequate reproduction of their permselectivity requires biomimetic membranes with submicron thickness, high uniformity, nanoscale porosity, and size-selective permeability. Artificial kidney BMs were assembled from poly(acrylic acid) and collagen using layer-by-layer (LBL) assembly technology and display multiple structural similarities with glomerular BMs. Diffusional transport through the artificial BMs faithfully replicate cut-off parameters of kidney membranes. Their utilization in understanding of unique diffusion processes in kidneys, in vitro studies of blood clearance time of small drugs/nanoscale drug carriers and design of more complex organoids including live cells for cancer proliferation studies is anticipated.

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