Atomic Force and Confocal Microscopic Studies of Collagen-Cell-Based Scaffolds for Vascular Tissue Engineering
Collagen is the most used naturally occurring scaffold material. It’s a structural protein ubiquitous among mammalian. The ability of collagen type I to host different cell phenotype in vitro and its low antigenecity in vivo are well known. However, the principal drawback of collagenbased materials consists in their low mechanical properties. For vascular tissue engineering this represents a major limit, as the aim is to mimic the structure of a native vessel, which is known to be resistant and viscoelastic. Moreover, vascular cells are known to be susceptible in vivo to reorganize the matrix in which they proliferate. Therefore, the aim of this project is to study the micro structural organization of collagen-based scaffolds, and to assess the interactions between collagen and smooth muscle cells during regeneration. This knowledge will then allow the development of appropriate strategies to tailor the microstructure of the scaffold and its properties. Smooth muscle cells (SMCs) were selected to study the interactions between cells and matrix during the proliferation. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) in dry state in tapping mode and Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM) in reflection mode were used to investigate the microstructure of the scaffold. For the former technique cells were seeded on top of the collagen gel after jellification, while for the latter, cells were embedded into the collagen gel and stained with Rhodamine. The contact points between matrix and cells were investigated, as well as the capacity of vascular cells to induce a structural reorganization of collagen fibrils in the scaffold.
T. Chandra, K. Tsuzaki, M. Militzer and C. Ravindran
L. Amadori et al., "Atomic Force and Confocal Microscopic Studies of Collagen-Cell-Based Scaffolds for Vascular Tissue Engineering", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 15-17, pp. 83-88, 2007