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Chapter 1

The Mutable Collagenous Tissue of Echinoderms: From Biology to Biomedical Applications

The mutable collagenous tissue (MCT) of echinoderms (starfish, sea-urchins and their close relations) has the capacity to drastically alter its mechanical properties within a timescale of seconds under the control of the nervous system. MCT is of central importance to the biology of echinoderms: postural fixation of the body or its appendages depends on passive MCT stiffening, and all autotomy (defensive self-detachment) mechanisms involve irreversible MCT destabilisation. This chapter reviews research on the biology and biomedical applications of MCT. It focuses on recent advances in knowledge of its organisation, biomechanics, molecular mechanisms of tensile change and neural control and demonstrates that MCT has attracted interest as a source of constituents for the construction of novel materials with potential biomedical applications and as a source of inspiration for the design of entirely artificial materials with adaptable and controllable mechanical properties.

Publication details

Print publication date
11 Jun 2021
Copyright year
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ePub eISBN

From the book series:
Soft Matter Series