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J R Soc Interface. 2009 Jan 6;6(30):1-10. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2008.0327.

Fibrin gels and their clinical and bioengineering applications.

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Department of Physiology, Institute for Medicine and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 3340 Smith Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Fibrin gels, prepared from fibrinogen and thrombin, the key proteins involved in blood clotting, were among the first biomaterials used to prevent bleeding and promote wound healing. The unique polymerization mechanism of fibrin, which allows control of gelation times and network architecture by variation in reaction conditions, allows formation of a wide array of soft substrates under physiological conditions. Fibrin gels have been extensively studied rheologically in part because their nonlinear elasticity, characterized by soft compliance at small strains and impressive stiffening to resist larger deformations, appears essential for their function as haemostatic plugs and as matrices for cell migration and wound healing. The filaments forming a fibrin network are among the softest in nature, allowing them to deform to large extents and stiffen but not break. The biochemical and mechanical properties of fibrin have recently been exploited in numerous studies that suggest its potential for applications in medicine and bioengineering.

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