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. 2018 Jun;12(6):1494-1498.
doi: 10.1002/term.2685. Epub 2018 May 15.

Self-expandable Tubular Collagen Implants

Free PMC article

Self-expandable Tubular Collagen Implants

Luuk R M Versteegden et al. J Tissue Eng Regen Med. .
Free PMC article


Collagen has been extensively used as a biomaterial, yet for tubular organ repair, synthetic polymers or metals (e.g., stents) are typically used. In this study, we report a novel type of tubular implant solely consisting of type I collagen, suitable to self-expand in case of minimal invasive implantation. Potential benefits of this collagen scaffold over conventional materials include improved endothelialization, biodegradation over time, and possibilities to add bioactive components to the scaffold, such as anticoagulants. Implants were prepared by compression of porous scaffolds consisting of fibrillar type I collagen (1.0-2.0% (w/v)). By applying carbodiimide cross-linking to the compressed scaffolds in their opened position, entropy-driven shape memory was induced. The scaffolds were subsequently crimped and dried around a guidewire. Upon exposure to water, crimped scaffolds deployed within 15-60 s (depending on the collagen concentration used), thereby returning to the original opened form. The scaffolds were cytocompatible as assessed by cell culture with human primary vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells. Compression force required to compress the open scaffolds increased with collagen content from 16 to 32 mN for 1.0% to 2.0% (w/v) collagen scaffolds. In conclusion, we report the first self-expandable tubular implant consisting of solely type I collagen that may have potential as a biological vascular implant.

Keywords: biodegradable implant; biomaterial; collagen; hollow organs; regenerative medicine; self-expandable; tissue engineering; vascular.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Production process of the self‐expandable vascular implant. Step 1: Porous tubular collagen scaffolds with a luminal diameter of 6 mm (or 4 mm, not shown) were used as starting point. Step 2: The scaffolds were manually compressed between two flat objects and chemically cross‐linked with the mandrel present. Step 3: Compression and cross‐linking resulted in a collagen scaffold with a film‐like appearance. This scaffold was used for mechanical testing. Step 4: The compressed scaffold was crimped around a metal guide wire using an automated compression machine and air‐dried in crimped position. Step 5: The dry crimped collagen scaffold around a guide wire in crimped position that can expand upon exposure to water. Scale bar = 6 mm
Figure 2
Figure 2
Scaffold deployment and cytocompatibility and mechanical characterization. (a) The crimped tubular collagen scaffolds of 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0% (w/v) were exposed to water inside a plastic tube. All scaffolds deployed within 1 min, a higher collagen content resulted in a longer deployment time, scale bar is 1 cm. (b) Overview of endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells seeded on 1% collagen scaffolds with enlargements. Scale bars are 1 mm and 10 μm. (c) Schematic representation of the mechanical analysis (left) and the results depicted in a graph (right) showing the force needed for compression of the tubes [Colour figure can be viewed at]

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