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9 February 2012The effect of collagen ageing on its structure and cellular behaviour
Collagen is the most important component in extracellular matrix (ECM) and plays a pivotal role in individual
tissue function in mammals. During ageing, collagen structure changes, which can detrimentally affect its biophysical
and biomechanical properties due to an accumulation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). AGEs have been
linked to non-enzymatic cross-linking of proteins resulting in the alteration of mechanical properties of the tissue. In this
study we investigate the influence of different aged collagens on the mechanical and contractile properties of
reconstituted hydrogel constructs seeded with corneal stromal fibroblasts. A non-destructive indentation technique and
optical coherence tomography (OCT) are used to determine the elastic modulus and dimensional changes respectively. It
is revealed that the youngest collagen constructs have a higher elastic modulus and increased contraction compared to the
older collagen. These results provide new insights into the relationship between collagen molecular structures and their
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Samantha L. Wilson, Marie Guilbert, Josep Sulé-Suso, James Torbet, Pierre Jeannesson, Ganesh D. Sockalingum, Ying Yang, "The effect of collagen ageing on its structure and cellular behaviour," Proc. SPIE 8222, Dynamics and Fluctuations in Biomedical Photonics IX, 822210 (9 February 2012);