Collagen-Alginate Composite Hydrogel: Application in Tissue Engineering and Biomedical Sciences

Polymers (Basel). 2021 Jun 2;13(11):1852. doi: 10.3390/polym13111852.


Alginate (ALG), a polysaccharide derived from brown seaweed, has been extensively investigated as a biomaterial not only in tissue engineering but also for numerous biomedical sciences owing to its wide availability, good compatibility, weak cytotoxicity, low cost, and ease of gelation. Nevertheless, alginate lacks cell-binding sites, limiting long-term cell survival and viability in 3D culture. Collagen (Col), a major component protein found in the extracellular matrix (ECM), exhibits excellent biocompatibility and weak immunogenicity. Furthermore, collagen contains cell-binding motifs, which facilitate cell attachment, interaction, and spreading, consequently maintaining cell viability and promoting cell proliferation. Recently, there has been a growing body of investigations into collagen-based hydrogel trying to overcome the poor mechanical properties of collagen. In particular, collagen-alginate composite (CAC) hydrogel has attracted much attention due to its excellent biocompatibility, gelling under mild conditions, low cytotoxicity, controllable mechanic properties, wider availability as well as ease of incorporation of other biomaterials and bioactive agents. This review aims to provide an overview of the properties of alginate and collagen. Moreover, the application of CAC hydrogel in tissue engineering and biomedical sciences is also discussed.

Keywords: collagen–alginate composite hydrogel; encapsulated cell therapy; tissue engineering; tissue regeneration; wound dressing.

Publication types

  • Review