Collagens are widely used in medical applications, but animal-derived collagens have several drawbacks, such as low thermal stability, nonspecific cell attachment, and susceptibility to contamination by infectious pathogens, such as prions, which may transfect humans. We have previously reported the chemical synthesis of polypeptides consisting of a Pro-Hyp-Gly sequence and the high thermostability of their triple-helical structure. To clarify the biomaterial characteristics of the poly(Pro-Hyp-Gly) polypeptide, we assessed its biodegradability and its capability for skin regeneration. Eight weeks after implantation, a poly(Pro-Hyp-Gly) freeze-dried sponge embedded subcutaneously into a rat dorsal area degraded at the same rate as Terudermis*, which is made from bovine type I atelocollagen and is used as an artificial dermis. Surprisingly, compared with Terudermis, the poly(Pro-Hyp-Gly) sponge significantly promoted epithelialization of a full-thickness wound on a rabbit's ear pad. This chemically synthesized polypeptide may be useful as a scaffold for tissue engineering and tissue regeneration.
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