Collagen-based membranous materials of various shapes (gel, film, sponge) are known to be the most promising materials in terms of facilitating the regeneration of dermal defects. In this study, dense and porous collagen membranes were fabricated using air-drying and freeze-drying processes, respectively, and the effect of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on the degree of membrane crosslinking was evaluated by in vitro biodegradation and mechanical testing. A non-irradiated membrane group was used as the negative control and a glutaraldehyde (GA) treated group as the positive control. Scanning electron microscopy showed that, as the freezing temperature decreased to -196 degrees C, the resultant mean pore sizes also decreased; optimal pore size was obtained at a freezing temperature of -70 degrees C. In vitro biodegradation and mechanical testing demonstrated that GA treatment or 4 hours of exposure to UV radiation significantly increased both resistance to collagenase and mechanical strength versus the untreated controls, regardless of the collagen membrane type (dense or porous). Our results suggest that UV treatment is a useful tool for the fabrication of collagen membranes designed to be used as dermal dressings.
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