Collagenous tissue stiffens on the nanoscale

Collagenous tissue stiffens on the nanoscale

All animals have collagenous tissue, but only echinoderms (for example, sea cucumbers and starfish) have “mutable collagenous tissue” (MCT) that can rapidly change its stiffness on receiving the appropriate neuronal signals. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble have now studied MCT using synchrotron small-angle X-ray diffraction and have confirmed for the first time that its unique properties involve changes in the “interfibrillar matrix” that interlinks collagen fibrils rather than changes in the mechanical properties of the fibrils themselves. The work could help in the development of new types of biomaterials that behave in a similar way for applications in biosensing and soft robotics, as well as cosmetic products that could delay skin stiffening as we age…….

http://nanotechweb.org/cws/article/tech/66675

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