Glucose stabilizes collagen sterilized with gamma irradiation

Mark P. Ohan, Michael G. Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Gamma irradiation sterilization (γ-irradiation) fragments and denatures collagen, drastically decreasing critical physical properties. Our goal was to maintain strength and stability of γ-irradiated collagen by adding glucose, which in theory can initiate crosslink formation in collagen during exposure to γ-irradiation. Collagen films prepared with and without glucose were γ-irradiated with a standard dose of 2.5 Mrad. Relative amounts of crosslinking and denaturation were approximated based on solubility and the mechanical properties of the films after hydration, heat denaturation, or incubation in enzymes (collagenase and trypsin). After exposure to γ-irradiation, collagen films containing glucose had significantly higher mechanical properties, greater resistance to enzymatic degradation, and decreased solubility compared with control films. The entire experiment was repeated with a second set of films that were exposed first to ultraviolet irradiation (254 nm) to provide higher initial strength and then γ-irradiated. Again, films containing glucose had significantly greater mechanical properties and resistance to enzymatic degradation compared with controls. Gel electrophoresis showed that glucose did not prevent peptide fragmentation; therefore, the higher strength and stability in glucose-incorporated films may be due to glucose-derived crosslinks. The results of this study suggest that glucose may be a useful additive to stabilize collagenous materials or tissues sterilized by γ-irradiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1188-1195
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 15 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


  • Collagen
  • Fragmentation
  • Gamma irradiation
  • Glucose
  • Ultraviolet irradiation

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