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Acta Biomater. 2005 Mar;1(2):155-64. Epub 2005 Jan 12.

Crosslinked alpha-elastin biomaterials: towards a processable elastin mimetic scaffold.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, 44 Cummington St., Boston, MA 02215, United States.


Elastin is a critical biochemical and biomechanical component of vascular tissue. However, elastin is also highly insoluble and therefore difficult to process into new biomaterials. We present a simple approach for synthesizing elastin-based materials from two commercially available and water-soluble components: alpha-elastin and a diepoxy crosslinker. Reaction pH was shown to modulate the degree of crosslinking, as demonstrated by materials characterized with a range of swelling ratios (approximately 10-25), enzymatic degradation rates (approximately 8-50% per h in 0.1 u/ml elastase), and elastic moduli (approximately 4-120 kPa). Crosslinking with a combination alkaline and neutral pH process results in materials with the highest degree of crosslinks, as indicated by a swelling ratio of 10, slow degradation rate, and high elastic moduli (approximately 120 kPa). Furthermore, the crosslinked alpha-elastin materials support vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) adhesion and a decreased proliferation rate compared to polystyrene controls. The functional outcomes of the crosslinking reaction, including the dependence of structure-function properties on reaction pH, are discussed. Our approach towards 'processable' elastin-based materials is versatile and could be integrated into existing tissue engineering methodologies to enhance biomaterial performance by providing a natural elastomeric and biofunctional component.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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