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Collagen Vitrigel: A Novel Scaffold That Can Facilitate a Three-Dimensional Culture for Reconstructing Organoids

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Three-dimensional reconstructed organoids in vitro are valuable for not only regenerative medicine but also drug development. However, the manipulation of conventional three-dimensional cultures is not simple. We describe a nylon membrane ring-embedded or a pressed silk sheet-embedded scaffold made of collagen “vitrigel” that can facilitate three-dimensional cultures for reconstructing an epithelial-mesenchymal model or a hard connective tissue model, respectively. Here we define vitrigel as a gel in a stable state produced by rehydration after the vitrification of a traditional hydrogel. The collagen vitrigel was successfully prepared in three steps involving a gelation process in which a cold and clear neutral salt solution containing type I collagen formed an opaque and soft gel by incubation at 37°C, a vitrification process in which the gel becomes a rigid material like glass after sufficient drying out, and finally a rehydration process to convert the vitrified material into a thin and transparent gel membrane with enhanced gel strength. The framework-embedded collagen vitrigel scaffold that can be easily reversed by forceps was prepared by inserting a nylon ring or a silk sheet in the collagen solution prior to the gelation. The scaffold enabled culturing anchorage-dependent cells on both surfaces of the collagen vitrigel by the manipulation of two-dimensional cultures and consequently resulted in reconstructing a three-dimensional organoid. An intestinal epithelial-mesenchymal model was reconstructed by coculturing fibroblasts on the opposite side of monolayered Caco-2 cells on the nylon ring-embedded collagen vitrigel. Also, fibroblasts seeded on both surfaces of the silk sheet-embedded collagen vitrigel proliferated well and formed multilayers and some cells invaded into the vitrigel framed by the network of numerous strong silk filaments, suggesting a reconstruction of a hard connective tissue model. These data demonstrate that the collagen vitrigel is a valuable scaffold for tissue engineering.

Keywords: Collagen; Organoid; Scaffold; Three-dimensional culture; Tissue engineering; Vitrigel

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: *Laboratory of Animal Cell Biology, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Ikenodai 2, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0901, Japan 2: †Laboratory of New Silk Materials, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Gouda 1-4-8, Okaya, Nagano 394-0021, Japan

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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