Earlier studies in our laboratory demonstrated that collagen extracted from ovine tendon is biocompatible towards human dermal fibroblast. To be able to use this collagen as a scaffold in skin tissue engineering, a mechanically stronger scaffold is required that can withstand manipulation before transplantation. This study was conducted to improve the mechanical strength of this collagen sponge using chemical crosslinkers, and evaluate their effect on physical, chemical and biocompatible properties. Collagen sponge was crosslinked with 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide (EDC) and glutaraldehyde (GA). Tensile test, FTIR study and mercury porosimetry were used to evaluate mechanical properties, chemical property and porosity, respectively. MTT assay was performed to evaluate the cytotoxic effect of crosslinked collagen sponge on human dermal fibroblasts. The FTIR study confirmed the successful crosslinking of collagen sponge. Crosslinking with EDC and GA significantly increased the mechanical strength of collagen sponge, with GA being more superior. Crosslinking of collagen sponge significantly reduced the porosity and the effect was predominant in GA-crosslinked collagen sponge. The GA-crosslinked collagen showed significantly lower, 60% cell viability towards human dermal fibroblasts compared to that of EDC-crosslinked collagen, 80% and non-crosslinked collagen, 100%. Although the mechanical strength was better when using GA but the more toxic effect on dermal fibroblast makes EDC a more suitable crosslinker for future skin tissue engineering.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.