Marcel E Nimni
Articles written in Journal of Chemical Sciences
Volume 111 Issue 1 February 1999 pp 283-289 Trends In Collagen
Tissue engineering is an emerging interdisciplinary field that applies the principles of engineering to the life sciences, with the aim of developing biological substitutes that restore, maintain or improve tissue function. In this process, extracellular matrix, cells and regulatory signals are important in guiding, modulating and facilitating regenerative events.
Cellular activities are regulated by a large number of polypeptides which behave as growth modulating factors. Such growth factors can either stimulate or inhibit cell division, differentiation, migration or expression. The effects of such factors are cell type-dependent and can vary with the frequency and way of administration. As we increase our understanding of growth factor functions and their clinical applications, the need for useful pharmaceutical forms becomes more apparent. Growth factor targeting to responsive cells and maintenance of adequate tissue levels becomes essential, particularly in view of their sometimes opposite effects on various cells and the dose dependence of their response.
The extracellular matrix provides a scaffold for cell growth, differentiation and may help to eventually regenerate tissues. Since collagen is a major constituent of extracellular matrices and connective tissues, its use in designing a synthetic matrix becomes of special interest. When growth factors contain collagen-binding domains, they can be targeted to collagen matrices, their activities localized, and together with the collagen matrix, synergistically affect the biological activities of cells. Therefore, collagen matrices impregnated with growth factors become potentially useful for tissue repair and organ regeneration, stimulating cell growth and extracellular restoration as well as remodeling.
We have developed collagen-derived matrices and are in the process of investigating their interactions with cells and related growth factors for tissue regeneration and repair. In this addition, we will discuss means of modulating growth factor release including the use of recombinant protein strategies for targeting their delivery.
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