[Development of novel cell culture systems utilizing the advantages of collagen vitrigel membrane]

Yakugaku Zasshi. 2010 Apr;130(4):565-74. doi: 10.1248/yakushi.130.565.
[Article in Japanese]


The white of an egg, rendered opaque by boiling, can be converted into a thin, transparent and rigid material like glass by evaporating the moisture. This phenomenon is known as the vitrification of heat-denatured proteins. We applied vitrification technology to a collagen gel and converted it into a rigid glass-like material. We attempted to rehydrate the glass-like material and succeeded in preparing a novel stable state of collagen gel that was a thin and transparent membrane with excellent gel strength and protein permeability. We called it "collagen vitrigel" because it was produced from the vitrification process of a traditional hydrogel. Further, a framework-embedded collagen vitrigel membrane that can be easily turned inside out with tweezers was prepared by inserting a nylon membrane ring in the collagen sol prior to the gelation, thereby allowing the membrane to function as a removable cell culture substratum. Different types of anchorage-dependent cells could be cultured on both surfaces of the substratum by the manipulation of two-dimensional cultures, and consequently a three-dimensional crosstalk model with paracrine effects from each cell type was reconstructed. Also, the collagen vitrigel membrane containing a bioactive molecule provided a drug delivery system (DDS) with sustainable release. In this review, we summarize the recent progress of applied studies using the collagen vitrigel membrane as follows: a corneal model for eye irritant and permeability tests, a skin model for sensitization test, a renal glomerular model for evaluating blood filtration, an endometrial model for developing a new treatment and a DDS of hepatocyte growth factor for improving liver disorder.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Collagen*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Discovery
  • Gels
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Models, Biological
  • Paracrine Communication
  • Protein Denaturation


  • Gels
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Collagen