Collagen: a network for regenerative medicine
The basic building block of the extra-cellular matrix in native tissue is collagen. As a structural protein, collagen has an inherent biocompatibility making it an ideal material for regenerative medicine. Cellular response, mediated by integrins, is dictated by the structure and chemistry of the collagen fibers. Fiber formation, via fibrillogenesis, can be controlled in vitro by several factors: pH, ionic strength, and collagen structure. After formation, fibers are stabilized via cross-linking. The final bioactivity of collagen scaffolds is a result of both processes. By considering each step of fabrication, scaffolds can be tailored for the specific needs of each tissue, improving their therapeutic potential.