Mechanical Properties of Native and Cross-linked Type I Collagen Fibrils


Yang, Lanti and Werf, Kees O. van der and Fitie, Carel F.C. and Bennink, Martin L. and Dijkstra, Pieter J. and Feijen, Jan (2008) Mechanical Properties of Native and Cross-linked Type I Collagen Fibrils. Biophysical Journal, 94 (6). pp. 2204-2211. ISSN 0006-3495

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Abstract:Micromechanical bending experiments using atomic force microscopy were performed to study the mechanical properties of native and carbodiimide-cross-linked single collagen fibrils. Fibrils obtained from a suspension of insoluble collagen type I isolated from bovine Achilles tendon were deposited on a glass substrate containing microchannels. Force-displacement curves recorded at multiple positions along the collagen fibril were used to assess the bending modulus. By fitting the slope of the force-displacement curves recorded at ambient conditions to a model describing the bending of a rod, bending moduli ranging from 1.0 GPa to 3.9 GPa were determined. From a model for anisotropic materials, the shear modulus of the fibril is calculated to be 33 ± 2 MPa at ambient conditions. When fibrils are immersed in phosphate-buffered saline, their bending and shear modulus decrease to 0.07–0.17 GPa and 2.9 ± 0.3 MPa, respectively. The two orders of magnitude lower shear modulus compared with the Young's modulus confirms the mechanical anisotropy of the collagen single fibrils. Cross-linking the collagen fibrils with a water-soluble carbodiimide did not significantly affect the bending modulus. The shear modulus of these fibrils, however, changed to 74 ± 7 MPa at ambient conditions and to 3.4 ± 0.2 MPa in phosphate-buffered saline.
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