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Teleost Fish Scales: A Unique Biological Model for the Fabrication of Materials for Corneal Stroma Regeneration

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The corneal stroma is composed of multiple lamellae, each containing closely packed collagen fibrils. The orientation of fibrils in a lamella is parallel, but those in different lamellae are orthogonal. As a result, the corneal stroma has a characteristic orthogonal plywood-like structure. Such a highly-regulated three-dimensional arrangement of collagen fibrils gives strength and transparency to the corneal stroma, but it also presents a challenge in the fabrication of materials to replace it. A bioinspired technology is required to process such materials, but the regulatory mechanism of collagen-fibril orientation is still unknown. The low regenerating activity of the corneal stroma seems to be a major factor preventing progress in this field of research. A similarly highly-ordered arrangement of collagen fibrils can be seen in the basal plates of teleost fish scales. Moreover, the scales have high regenerating ability. When a scale is mechanically lost, a new scale is rapidly regenerated. The cells that produce the basal plates are extremely activated; thus, production of the highly-ordered collagen fibrils is very rapid. Therefore, the regenerating scales should be a uniquely helpful biological model for studying the regulatory mechanism of collagen-fibril orientation. Fish-scale collagen has another advantage for use as a biomaterial: the low probability of zoonotic infection. Therefore, scale collagen is a most promising biomaterial for fabricating three-dimensionally arranged collagen fibers to substitute for the corneal stroma. Three tasks that must be clarified for the bioinspired production of a corneal substitute from fish scale collagen are proposed.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2007

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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