Microporous collagen spheres produced via thermally induced phase separation for tissue regeneration

Hussila Keshaw, Nikhil Thapar, Alan J Burns, Nicola Mordan, Jonathan C Knowles, Alastair Forbes, Richard M Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Collagen is an abundant protein found in the extracellular matrix of many tissues. Due to its biocompatibility, it is a potentially ideal biomaterial for many tissue engineering applications. However, harvested collagen often requires restructuring into a three-dimensional matrix to facilitate applications such as implantation into poorly accessible tissue cavities. The aim of the current study was to produce a conformable collagen-based scaffold material capable of supporting tissue regeneration for use in wound repair applications. Microporous collagen spheres were prepared using a thermally induced phase separation (TIPS) technique and their biocompatibility was assessed. The collagen spheres were successfully cross-linked with glutaraldehyde vapour, rendering them mechanically more stable. When cultured with myofibroblasts the collagen spheres stimulated a prolonged significant increase in secretion of the angiogenic growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), compared with cells alone. Control polycaprolactone (PCL) spheres failed to stimulate a similar prolonged increase in VEGF secretion. An enhanced angiogenic effect was also seen in vivo using the chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane assay, where a significant increase in the number of blood vessels converging towards collagen spheres was observed compared with control PCL spheres. The results from this study indicate that microporous collagen spheres produced using TIPS are biologically active and could offer a novel conformable scaffold for tissue regeneration in poorly accessible wounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1158-66
Number of pages9
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen
  • Guided Tissue Regeneration
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing
  • Microspheres
  • Myoblasts
  • Phase Transition
  • Polyesters
  • Porosity
  • Temperature

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