April 2014
Volume 55, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2014
Electric field mediated alignment of collagen fibers in collagen Vitrigel materials
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Shoumyo Majumdar
    Translational Tissue Engineering Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
  • Xiomara Calderon-Colon
    Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, MD
  • Morgana Trexler
    Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, MD
  • Oliver Schein
    Department of Ophthalmology, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
  • Jennifer Elisseeff
    Translational Tissue Engineering Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Shoumyo Majumdar, None; Xiomara Calderon-Colon, None; Morgana Trexler, None; Oliver Schein, None; Jennifer Elisseeff, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2014, Vol.55, 3726. doi:
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      Shoumyo Majumdar, Xiomara Calderon-Colon, Morgana Trexler, Oliver Schein, Jennifer Elisseeff; Electric field mediated alignment of collagen fibers in collagen Vitrigel materials. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):3726.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Collagen vitrigels are thin, transparent biomaterial membranes with a high density of organized collagen fibrils. However collagen vitrigels do not possess the high degree of collagen fibril alignment present in native cornea, which is a requirement for thicker vitrigels to maintain optical clarity. We utilized electric field (EF) to align fibrils during gelation and vitrification. EF enabled fabrication of thick and highly transparent vitrigel materials (EFVs).


Collagen (commercially available atelocollagen type I) gels were prepared in the presence of 2 V/cm EF in a custom built mold with vertically placed electrodes using vitrigel media with HEPES (+β), basic media without HEPES (-β), or only 0.1 N NaOH. Vitrification and rehydration were carried out as previously described (Biomaterials 33 (2012) 8286-95). Transmittance was measured using a Synergy 2 microplate reader (Biotek). Samples were processed for TEM and stained with uranyl acetate; images were taken in a Philips CM120 TEM. Samples were compared to vitrigels prepared without the use of electric field.


Collagen membrane ultrastructure was significantly altered by the electric field. Fibril alignment was evident in EF samples (Figure 1), whereas regular vitrigels showed random fibrillar organization. While EFV [NaOH] membranes showed collagen fibrils of lower diameter, EFV[Media(+β)] samples demonstrated characteristic collagen banding and fibril diameter similar to cornea. Light absorption values in the visible light spectrum for the different samples are shown in Figure 2. EFV[Media(-β)] and EFV[NaOH] show lowest absorption, followed by EFV[Media(+β)].


EF influence alters the biomaterial ultrastructure, allowing collagen fibril alignment. Effects of fibril alignment were quantitatively assessed through transparency data. Quality of collagen fibrils generated through EF modulated vitrification is dependent on media components. Combination of EFV with [Media(+β)] results in vitrigels which absorb less light than regular vitrigels while maintaining presence of mature collagen fibers, which would aid in mimicking the natural environment for keratocyte growth and proliferation. Both of these characteristics of increased transparency and fibrillar organization are therefore significantly enhanced by the influence of electric field.

Fibril alignment in EFVs.Bar=500 nm
Fibril alignment in EFVs.Bar=500 nm
Light Absorbance Spectrum
Light Absorbance Spectrum
Keywords: 480 cornea: basic science • 484 cornea: stroma and keratocytes  

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