Modulation of keratocyte phenotype by collagen fibril nanoarchitecture in membranes for corneal repair

Qiongyu Guo, Jude M. Phillip, Shoumyo Majumdar, Pei Hsun Wu, Jiansu Chen, Xiomara Calderón-Colón, Oliver Schein, Barbara J. Smith, Morgana M. Trexler, Denis Wirtz, Jennifer H. Elisseeff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Type I collagen membranes with tailored fibril nanoarchitectures were fabricated through a vitrification processing, which mimicked, to a degree, the collagen maturation process of corneal stromal extracellular matrix invivo. Vitrification was performed at a controlled temperature of either 5°C or 39°C at a constant relative humidity of 40% for various time periods from 0.5wk up to 8wk. During vitrification, the vitrified collagen membranes (collagen vitrigels, CVs) exhibited a rapid growth in fibrillar density through the evaporation of water and an increase in fibrillar stiffness due to the formation of new and/or more-stable interactions. On the other hand, the collagen fibrils in CVs maintained their D-periodicity and showed no significant difference in fibrillar diameter, indicating preservation of the native states of the collagen fibrils during vitrification. Keratocyte phenotype was maintained on CVs to varying degrees that were strongly influenced by the collagen fibril nanoarchitectures. Specifically, the vitrification time of CVs mainly governed the keratocyte morphology, showing significant increases in the cell protrusion number, protrusion length, and cell size along with CV vitrification time. The CV vitrification temperature affected the regulation of keratocyte fibroblasts' gene expressions, including keratocan and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), demonstrating a unique way to control the expression of specific genes invitro.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9365-9372
Number of pages8
Issue number37
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Collagen maturation
  • Corneal repair
  • Fibril nanoarchitecture
  • Keratocyte phenotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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