We have found that a water-soluble alkaline-digested form of eggshell membrane (ASESM) can provide an extracellular matrix (ECM) environment for human dermal fibroblast cells (HDF) in vitro. Avian eggshell membrane (ESM) has a fibrous-meshwork structure and has long been utilized as a Chinese medicine for recovery from burn injuries and wounds in Asian countries. Therefore, ESM is expected to provide an excellent natural material for biomedical use. However, such applications have been hampered by the insolubility of ESM proteins. We have used a recently developed artificial cell membrane biointerface, 2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine polymer (PMBN) to immobilize ASESM proteins. The surface shows a fibrous structure under the atomic force microscope, and adhesion of HDF to ASESM is ASESM-dose-dependent. Quantitative mRNA analysis has revealed that the expression of type III collagen, matrix metalloproteinase-2, and decorin mRNAs is more than two-fold higher when HDF come into contact with a lower dose ASESM proteins immobilized on PMBN surface. A particle-exclusion assay with fixed erythrocytes has visualized secreted water-binding molecules around the cells. Thus, HDF seems to possess an ECM environment on the newly designed PMBN-ASESM surface, and future applications of the ASESM-PMBN system for biomedical use should be of great interest.
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