Modulation of the biophysical and biochemical properties of collagen by glycation for tissue engineering applications

Mina Vaez, Meisam Asgari, Liisa Hirvonen, Gorkem Bakir, Emilie Khattignavong, Maya Ezzo, Sebastian Aguayo, Christina M Schuh, Kathleen Gough, Laurent Bozec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The structural and functional properties of collagen are modulated by the presence of intramolecular and intermolecular crosslinks. Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs) can produce intermolecular crosslinks by bonding the free amino groups of neighbouring proteins. In this research, the following hypothesis is explored: The accumulation of AGEs in collagen decreases its proteolytic degradation rates while increasing its stiffness. Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging (FLIM) and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) detect biochemical changes in collagen scaffolds during the glycation process. The accumulation of AGEs increases exponentially in the collagen scaffolds as a function of Methylglyoxal (MGO) concentration by performing autofluorescence measurement and competitive ELISA. Glycated scaffolds absorb water at a much higher rate confirming the direct affinity between AGEs and interstitial water within collagen fibrils. In addition, the topology of collagen fibrils as observed by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is a lot more defined following glycation. The elastic modulus of collagen fibrils decreases as a function of glycation, whereas the elastic modulus of collagen scaffolds increases. Finally, the enzymatic degradation of collagen by bacterial collagenase shows a sigmoidal pattern with a much slower degradation rate in the glycated scaffolds. This study identifies unique variations in the properties of collagen following the accumulation of AGEs. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: : In humans, Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs) are naturally produced as a result of aging process. There is an evident lack of knowledge in the basic science literature explaining the biomechanical impact of AGE-mediated crosslinks on the functional and structural properties of collagen at both the nanoscale (single fibrils) and mesoscale (bundles of fibrils). This research, demonstrates how it is possible to harness this natural phenomenon in vitro to enhance the properties of engineered collagen fibrils and scaffolds. This study identifies unique variations in the properties of collagen at nanoscale and mesoscale following accumulation of AGEs. In their approach, they investigate the unique properties conferred to collagen, namely enhanced water sorption, differential elastic modulus, and finally sigmoidal proteolytic degradation behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-198
Number of pages17
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Volume155
Early online date24 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

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