The effect of dehydrothermal treatment on the mechanical and structural properties of collagen-GAG scaffolds

J Biomed Mater Res A. 2009 May;89(2):363-9. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.31955.


The mechanical properties of tissue engineering scaffolds are critical for preserving the structural integrity and functionality during both in vivo implantation and long-term performance. In addition, the mechanical and structural properties of the scaffold can direct cellular activity within a tissue-engineered construct. In this context, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of dehydrothermal (DHT) treatment on the mechanical and structural properties of collagen-glycosaminoglycan (CG) scaffolds. Temperature (105-180 degrees C) and exposure period (24-120 h) of DHT treatment were varied to determine their effect on the mechanical properties, crosslinking density, and denaturation of CG scaffolds. As expected, increasing the temperature and duration of DHT treatment resulted in an increase in the mechanical properties. Compressive properties increased up to twofold, while tensile properties increased up to 3.8-fold. Crosslink density was found to increase with DHT temperature but not exposure period. Denaturation also increased with DHT temperature and exposure period, ranging from 25% to 60% denaturation. Crosslink density was found to be correlated with compressive modulus, whilst denaturation was found to correlate with tensile modulus. Taken together, these results indicate that DHT treatment is a viable technique for altering the mechanical properties of CG scaffolds. The enhanced mechanical properties of DHT-treated CG scaffolds improve their suitability for use both in vitro and in vivo. In addition, this work facilitates the investigation of the effects of mechanical properties and denaturation on cell activity in a 3D environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Collagen / chemistry*
  • Compressive Strength
  • Cross-Linking Reagents / chemistry
  • Glycosaminoglycans / chemistry*
  • Materials Testing*
  • Mechanical Phenomena*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Temperature*
  • Tensile Strength
  • Tissue Scaffolds*
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Water
  • Collagen