Researchers at Rice University have discovered promising new insight into collagen regeneration. The study shows Collagen, which is the most abundant protein found in mammals, has the capability to self-assemble into fibrous bones and tissues when enabled properly.
This assembling process’s success is heavily dependent on how the ends of the collagen fibers are arranged. In the study the researchers took synthetic college fibers and left one group with ends cut at a blunt angle. The other groups ends were left in a “sticky” state.
What researchers learned was that if the synthetic collagen fiber ends were left “sticky” with a few strands extended, the fibers were more likely to have triple helice’s attach and bind to them, eventually self-assembling into fibrous tissue and even bone. However, if the ends were cut down into this “blunt” form with no sticky ends and with no extra strands left extending out, it would not begin the self-assembling process.
The Rice Laboratory has been researching collagen for a decade now. New information into the development and the processes of collagen growth are highly important because collagen itself it so very vital for human beings and also medical, chemical cosmetic chemistry studies.
Collagen is a major component of bone. The fibrous tissues of collagen are what supports cells and hold organs together. Collagen forms from helical arrangements of three protein chains (peptides). The chains are made up of amino acids like glycine and proline arranged in a particular order. Glycine and Proline are two of the primary components of collagen.
“Discovering its secrets may lead to better synthetic collagen for tissue engineering and cosmetic and reconstructive medicine.”(Source)
The Jeffrey Hartgerink research team published their findings in the he Journal of the American Chemical Society. The published papers go on to show precisely how mimetic peptides, the peptide strands mentioned earlier, “may be aligned to form helices with sticky ends that allow them to aggregate into fibers or gels.”(Source)
What makes this discovery an even sweeter victory for the Jeffrey Hartgerink Laboratory is that back in 2011 they had published similar hypothesis about the offset of collagen stands and what possibilities this could present, they were ridiculed for their suggestions. Now, three years later, they not only come back with evidence that supports their suggestions but they also had so much in-depth research to back the findings, it produced two separate papers for publishing.
Research findings: by Rice University Jeffrey Hartgerink Laboratory and Team.
Image: Jeffrey Hartgerink/Rice Univ.