Collagen/kerateine multi-protein hydrogels as a thermally stable extracellular matrix for 3D in vitro models

Kameel Zuniga, Manasa Gadde, Jacob Scheftel, Kris Senecal, Erik Cressman, Mark Van Dyke, Marissa Nichole Rylander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether the addition of kerateine (reduced keratin) in rat tail collagen type I hydrogels increases thermal stability and changes material properties and supports cell growth for use in cellular hyperthermia studies for tumor treatment. Methods: Collagen type I extracted from rat tail tendon was combined with kerateine extracted from human hair fibers. Thermal, mechanical, and biocompatibility properties and cell behavior was assessed and compared to 100% collagen type I hydrogels to demonstrate their utility as a tissue model for 3D in vitro testing. Results: A combination (i.e., containing both collagen ‘C/KNT’) hydrogel was more thermally stable than pure collagen hydrogels and resisted thermal degradation when incubated at a hyperthermic temperature of 47°C for heating durations up to 60 min with a higher melting temperature measured by DSC. An increase in the storage modulus was only observed with an increased collagen concentration rather than an increased KTN concentration; however, a change in ECM structure was observed with greater fiber alignment and width with an increase in KTN concentration. The C/KTN hydrogels, specifically 50/50 C/KTN hydrogels, also supported the growth and of fibroblasts and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells similar to those seeded in 100% collagen hydrogels. Conclusion: This multi-protein C/KTN hydrogel shows promise for future studies involving thermal stress studies without compromising the 3D ECM environment or cell growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)830-845
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Hyperthermia
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Hydrogel
  • biomimetic engineering
  • collagen
  • hyperthermia
  • kerateine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Collagen/kerateine multi-protein hydrogels as a thermally stable extracellular matrix for 3D in vitro models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this