Glycation of collagen in decellularized pericardium tissue: pilot study

Stained sample showing a breast cancer lesion. The coloured inset shows in red the presence of malignant microcalcifications.

Blood glucose supplies energy to cells and is critical for the human brain. Glycation of collagen, the nonenzymatic formation of glucose‐bridges, relates to diseases of aging populations and diabetics. This chemical reaction, together with its biomechanical effects, has been well studied employing animal models. However, the direct impact of glycation on collagen nano‐structure is largely overlooked, and there is a lack of ex vivo model systems. Here, we present the impact of glucose on collagen nanostructure in a model system based on abundantly available connective tissue of farm animals. By combining ex vivo small and wide‐angle X‐ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS) imaging, we characterize intra‐ and inter‐molecular parameters of collagen in decellularized bovine pericardium with picometer precision. We observe three distinct regimes according to glucose concentration. Such a study opens new avenues for inspecting the effects of diabetes mellitus on connective tissues and the influence of therapies on the resulting secondary disorders.