Neural cell type-specific responses to glycomimetic functionalized collagen

Shirley N. Masand, Isaac J. Perron, Melitta Camartin, David Shreiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Despite their noted functional role, glycans have had limited therapeutic use due to difficulties in synthesis and quick degradation in vivo. The recent discovery of glycomimetics has provided new opportunities for their application. In this study, we have functionalized type I collagen with peptide mimics of two glycans: (1) polysialic acid (PSA) and (2) an epitope first discovered on human natural killer cells (HNK-1). These glycans and their glycomimetic counterparts have been shown to be important regulators of repair following injury through their unique and phenotypically specific effects on neural behavior. We show that these molecules retain their bioactivity following functionalization to the collagen backbone. Grafted HNK-1 encouraged motor neuron outgrowth, while grafted PSA encouraged sensory and motor neuron outgrowth and enhanced Schwann cell proliferation and process extension. These data support the potential of glycomimetic-functionalized collagen as a biomaterial strategy to increase the efficiency of synaptic reconnection following nervous system injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)790-797
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


  • Glycans
  • HNK-1
  • Nerve regeneration
  • PSA

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