Brodsky, Barbara Department of Biochemistry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Last reviewed:December 2019
- Structure and properties
- Biosynthesis and degradation
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The major fibrous protein in animals. Collagen is present in all types of multicellular animals and is probably the most abundant animal protein in nature. It is estimated that collagen accounts for about 30% of the total human body protein. Collagen is located in the extracellular matrix of connective tissues. It is part of the interacting network of proteoglycans and proteins that provides a structural framework for both soft and calcified connective tissues. By self-associating into fibrils and by binding to proteoglycans and other matrix components, collagen contributes to tissue integrity and mechanical properties. Collagen interacts with cells through the integrin cell receptors and mediates cellular adhesion and migration. Important roles for collagen have been identified in development, wound healing, platelet aggregation and aging. Its commercial importance in leather and the production of gelatin and glue have long been recognized. More recently, it is being used as a basis for biomaterials. Examples of its biomedical applications include injectable collagen to lessen facial wrinkles and defects; surgical collagen sponges to increase blood clotting; and artificial skin for the treatment of burns. See also: Gelatin; Leather and fur processing
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