Mechanisms of lamellar collagen formation in connective tissues
Research output: Contribution to journal › Review article › Academic › peer-review
The objective of tissue engineering is to regenerate functional tissues. Engineering functional tissues requires an understanding of the mechanisms that guide the formation and evolution of structure in the extracellular matrix (ECM). In particular, the three-dimensional (3D) collagen fiber arrangement is important as it is the key structural determinant that provides mechanical integrity and biological function. In this review, we survey the current knowledge on collagen organization mechanisms that can be applied to create well-structured functional lamellar tissues and in particular intervertebral disc and cornea. Thus far, the mechanisms behind the formation of cross-aligned collagen fibers in the lamellar structures is not fully understood. We start with cell-induced collagen alignment and strain-stabilization behavior mechanisms which can explain a single anisotropically aligned collagen fiber layer. These mechanisms may explain why there is anisotropy in a single layer in the first place. However, they cannot explain why a consecutive collagen layer is laid down with an alternating alignment. Therefore, we explored another mechanism, called liquid crystal phasing. While dense concentrations of collagen show such behavior, there is little evidence that the conditions for liquid crystal phasing are actually met in vivo. Instead, lysyl aldehyde-derived collagen cross-links have been found essential for correct lamellar matrix deposition. Furthermore, we suggest that supra-cellular (tissue-level) shear stress may be instrumental in the alignment of collagen fibers. Understanding the potential mechanisms behind the lamellar collagen structure in connective tissues will lead to further improvement of the regeneration strategies of functional complex lamellar tissues.
- Arrangment, CYCLIC STRETCH, Collagen, EXTRACELLULAR-MATRIX, FIBRIL ALIGNMENT, Functional tissue, IN-VITRO, LIQUID CRYSTALLINITY, Lamellar structure, Liquid crystal behavior, MATRIX GENE-EXPRESSION, MESENCHYMAL STEM-CELLS, ORIENTATION, SMOOTH-MUSCLE-CELLS, V COLLAGEN