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J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 2010;21(6-7):877-92. doi: 10.1163/156856209X449452.

Cross-linking and depolymerisation of gamma-irradiated fish gelatin and porcine gelatin studied by SEC-MALLS and SDS-PAGE: a comparative study.

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Department of Biological Science, Graduate School of Science, Osaka Prefecture University, 1-2 Gakuen-cho, Naka-ku, Sakai, Osaka 599-8570, Japan.


gamma-Irradiation of gelatin and collagen hydrogels can be used for sterilization and mechanical stabilization, providing biomaterials suitable for both tissue engineering and drug-delivery systems. Controversial results have been reported regarding the extent of irradiation-induced cross-linking and degradation, which depend on both protein concentration and irradiation dose. In this work the relative contributions of these processes were studied for irradiation doses between 0 and 1.0 kGy and concentrations between 0.3% and 5% using size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) with multi-angle laser light scattering (MALLS) and viscosity detection, as well as SDS-PAGE. It was demonstrated that chain degradation and cross-linking occur simultaneously in fish gelatin (FG), porcine gelatin (PG) and porcine collagen (PC), by the gradual appearance of protein fragments (10-80) x 10(3) concomitant with the formation of structures of high molecular weight. FG and PG behaved rather similarly, despite the fact they were irradiated and analyzed above and below their denaturation temperatures, respectively, suggesting little or no influence of molecular ordering under the conditions used. PC showed an increasing amount of degradation products following heat treatment prior to SEC-MALLS, suggesting that chain cleavage may occur within ordered collagen structures without complete release of the protein fragments.

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