The extracellular components of the skin can be divided into fiber-forming structural molecules, nonfiber-forming structural molecules, and “matricellular proteins”.
Optimal quantities of different matrix components and their delicate interactions are necessary to maintain normal physiologic properties of the skin. Fiber-forming molecules provide a structure to the ECM by creating a complex three-dimensional framework of rigid proteins. The nonfiber-forming molecules, mostly proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), function to create a charged, dynamic, and osmotically active space (Tracy et al., 2016).
In the skin, the most prevalent fiber-forming protein is collagen, which comprises 77% of the fat-free dry weight of human skin (Uitto et al., 1989). While fibrous proteins define the rigidity and elasticity of a tissue, it is the nonfiber-forming proteoglycans and GAGs that fill the majority of the tissue’s interstitial space. Their negatively charged and hydrophilic nature enable proteoglycans and GAGs to function in hydration, buffering, and force dispersion within tissues (Tracy et al., 2016).
Thus the importance of the cellular microenvironment within the skin tissue tends to make cell culture models more complex. In this endeavor, HCS Pharma can provide you with BIOMIMESYS® matrices: they mimic the in vivo ECM composition and stiffness, and they allow to cocultivate cells (e.g. fibroblasts).
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