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Topotactic Fibrillogenesis of Freeze-Cast Microridged Collagen Scaffolds for 3D Cell Culture

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posted on 26.03.2019, 00:00 authored by Clément Rieu, Cleo Parisi, Gervaise Mosser, Bernard Haye, Thibaud Coradin, Francisco M. Fernandes, Léa Trichet
Type I collagen is the main component of the extracellular matrix (ECM). In vitro, under a narrow window of physicochemical conditions, type I collagen self-assembles to form complex supramolecular architectures reminiscent of those found in native ECM. Presently, a major challenge in collagen-based biomaterials is to couple the delicate collagen fibrillogenesis events with a controlled shaping process in non-denaturating conditions. In this work, an ice-templating approach promoting the structuration of collagen into macroporous monoliths is used. Instead of common solvent removal procedures, a new topotactic conversion approach yielding self-assembled ordered fibrous materials is implemented. These collagen-only, non-cross-linked scaffolds exhibit uncommon mechanical properties in the wet state, with a Young’s modulus of 33 ± 12 kPa, an ultimate tensile stress of 33 ± 6 kPa, and a strain at failure of 105 ± 28%. With the help of the ice-patterned microridge features, normal human dermal fibroblasts and C2C12 murine myoblasts successfully migrate and form highly aligned populations within the resulting three-dimensional (3D) collagen scaffolds. These results open a new pathway to the development of new tissue engineering scaffolds ordered across various organization levels from the molecule to the macropore and are of particular interest for biomedical applications where large-scale 3D cell alignment is needed such as for muscular or nerve reconstruction.