Characterisation of a collagen membrane for its potential use in cardiovascular tissue engineering applications
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In this study, Biomend®, a collagen membrane conventionally used in the regeneration of periodontal tissue, is investigated for its possible use in the field of cardiovascular tissue engineering. A key requirement of most potential tissue engineering scaffolds is that degradation occurs in tandem with tissue regeneration and extra cellular matrix remodelling. To this end, it is crucial to understand the degradation mechanics and mechanisms of the material and to investigate the practicability of using Biomend® as a possible scaffold material. With this in mind, methodologies for the initial characterisation of the scaffold material were determined. The mechanical properties of Biomend® samples, subjected to various degrees of hydration and enzymatic degradation, were examined primarily through tensile testing experiments. The effects of enzymatic degradation were monitored quantitatively, by observing weight loss, and visually, by studying micrographs. Cell adhesion and viability were of primary concern. Confocal laser scanning microscopy was employed to illustrate endothelialisation on the surface of this collagen membrane. Fluorescence microscopy was used to visualise cell viability on the membrane surface. These images, coupled with assays to measure cell activity, suggest that Biomend® is not a suitable substrate to allow endothelialisation. In summary, this collagen membrane has suitable mechanical properties with the potential to control its degradation rate. However, since poor endothelial cell viability was observed on the membrane, it may not be suitable for use in cardiovascular tissue engineering applications.
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