Cytotoxicity of glutaraldehyde crosslinked collagen/poly(vinyl alcohol) films is by the mechanism of apoptosis

Julie E. Gough, Colin A. Scotchford, Sandra Downes

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    Collagen has been investigated as a potential natural biomaterial, because of its occurrence in the extra-cellular matrix. Collagen requires crosslinking in this context, by reagents that are often cytotoxic. Glutaraldehyde is one such agent that is potentially cytotoxic. The aim of this study was to determine the cause of poor cell attachment and growth on collagen/poly(vinyl alcohol) bioartificial composite films, when crosslinked with glutaraldehyde. Dehydrothermal crosslinking was used as a comparison. Human osteoblasts were observed to undergo apoptosis on glutaraldehyde crosslinked films dependent on concentration of collagen present. Higher collagen content resulted in higher levels of apoptosis with poor cell attachment and spreading of remaining cells. Post-treatment of films with 8% L-glutamic acid prevented the apoptotic response of osteoblasts and allowed attachment and spreading. The addition of 100 nM insulin-like growth factor-1 to the culture medium also prevented apoptosis. Glutaraldehyde toxicity of crosslinked collagen has been demonstrated in this study, the mechanism of which is apoptosis. This study indicates that poor biocompatibility and induction of apoptosis on collagen/poly(vinyl alcohol) films crosslinked by glutaraldehyde are attributed to glutaraldehyde components on the surface of the films (not residual glutaraldehyde), whose effects can be quenched by glutamic acid, and prevented by insulin-like growth factor-1. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)121-130
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Apoptosis
    • Collagen
    • Crosslinking
    • Human osteoblasts
    • IGF-1, glutamic acid


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