Cross-linking of fibrous collagenous tissues occurs during late-stage wound healing and during aging. The attendant changes in micro-scale kinematics and macro-scale mechanics are not well understood. In this study we used glutaraldehyde as a model cross-linking agent, and in vitro reconstituted collagen gel as a model collagenous tissue. Collagen gels are in vitro assembled hydrated networks of collagen fibrils. Glutaraldehyde is a commonly used cross-linking agent for bioprosthetic tissues and is chemically well-characterized. Glutaraldehyde cross-linking is known to decrease the deformability of arterial valves, but the micro-scale mechanism of its action is not known. In this study, collagen gels with anisotropic fibril orientation were subjected to increasing cross-link density, and the concurrent change in biaxial mechanical properties was monitored. The extent of cross-linking is determined by biochemical analysis. Structural modeling of the biaxial mechanics of a fibrous microstructure was performed for three potential cross-link mechanisms. The trends in the simulated mechanics for increasing cross-link density were compared against that of the experimental data.
Structural Mechanism for Alteration of Collagen Gel Mechanics by Glutaraldehyde Crosslinking
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Chandran, PL, Coughlin, DG, Paik, DC, & Holmes, JW. "Structural Mechanism for Alteration of Collagen Gel Mechanics by Glutaraldehyde Crosslinking." Proceedings of the ASME 2007 Summer Bioengineering Conference. ASME 2007 Summer Bioengineering Conference. Keystone, Colorado, USA. June 20–24, 2007. pp. 209-210. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/SBC2007-176462
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