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Biopolymers. 2010 Aug;93(8):690-707. doi: 10.1002/bip.21431.

Polymerization and matrix physical properties as important design considerations for soluble collagen formulations.

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Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


Despite extensive use of type I collagen for research and medical applications, its fibril-forming or polymerization potential has yet to be fully defined and exploited. Here, we describe a type I collagen formulation that is acid solubilized from porcine skin collagen (PSC), quality controlled based upon polymerization potential, and well suited as a platform polymer for preparing three-dimensional (3D) culture systems and injectable/implantable in vivo cellular microenvironments in which both relevant biochemical and biophysical parameters can be precision-controlled. PSC is compared with three commercial collagens in terms of composition and purity as well as polymerization potential, which is described by kinetic parameters and fibril microstructure and mechanical properties of formed matrices. When subjected to identical polymerization conditions, PSC showed significantly decreased polymerization times compared to the other collagens and yielded matrices with the greatest mechanical integrity and broadest range of mechanical properties as characterized in oscillatory shear, uniaxial extension, and unconfined compression. Compositional and intrinsic viscosity analyses suggest that the enhanced polymerization potential of PSC may be attributed to its unique oligomer composition. Collectively, this work demonstrates the importance of standardizing next generation collagen formulations based upon polymerization potential and provides preliminary insight into the contribution of oligomers to collagen polymerization properties.

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