The use of marine collagens is a hot topic in the field of tissue engineering. Echinoderms possess unique connective tissues (Mutable Collagenous Tissues, MCTs) which can represent an innovative source of collagen to develop collagen barrier-membranes for Guided Tissue Regeneration (GTR). In the present work we used MCTs from different echinoderm models (sea urchin, starfish and sea cucumber) to produce echinoderm-derived collagen membranes (EDCMs). Commercial membranes for GTR or soluble/reassembled (fibrillar) bovine collagen substrates were used as controls. The three EDCMs were similar among each other in terms of structure and mechanical performances and were much thinner and mechanically more resistant than the commercial membranes. Number of fibroblasts seeded on sea-urchin membranes were comparable to the bovine collagen substrates. Cell morphology on all EDCMs was similar to that of structurally comparable (reassembled) bovine collagen substrates. Overall, echinoderms, and sea urchins particularly, are alternative collagen sources to produce efficient GTR membranes. Sea urchins display a further advantage in terms of eco-sustainability by recycling tissues from food wastes.
- Aquatic Science