Fabrication of Collagen Gels to Model Ligaments
When ligaments are damaged, they can take up to three years to heal and are prone to re-injury and chronic instability. Ligaments are made of collagen fibers that give ligaments their strength. Fibers in healthy ligaments are aligned, while fibers in damaged ligaments are unaligned or disordered. Therapeutic methods can potentially expedite the alignment of collagen fibers during healing, however, the functional benefit of fiber alignment has not been characterized. This characterization is difficult in native tissue due to structural heterogeneity. A method to overcome this limitation is to fabricate collagen gels that resemble the fibrous microstructure of ligament. In this research project, collagen from rat-tail fascicles is polymerized to create tissue-surrogates that model ligament structure. We can control the fiber alignment in these tissue-surrogates and therefore determine how collagen fiber distribution directly affects tissue strength.
Smull, Matthew, "Fabrication of Collagen Gels to Model Ligaments" (2014). College of Engineering Presentations. 30.