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Collagen Formation Found to be in a Lattice Pattern

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Collagen and elastin fibers in the skin have been found to be organized in a mesh-like structure, according to a paper published in Scientific Reports. A research team from Japan dove into this topic in the hopes of discovering vital information for understanding the skin's pliability, which could be used for further clinical use. 

Researchers inferred that collagen and elastin fibers have a geometric orientation based on its pliable nature. However, studies failed to demonstrate whether there is any organization in the skin's collagen and elastic fibers. "Because the fibers are so tightly packed, it was impossible to determine if their orientation is ordered or random," explains first author Susumu Saito of Kyoto University's School of Medicine. "So, we developed a way to essentially stretch a skin sample on a 2D plane that increases the inter-fiber space of the collagen but retains its core structure."

The research group used multiphoton microscopy to further investigate the skin, and they found evidence that collagen fibers, as well as the elastic fibers, were arranged in a mesh-like lattice. Hopefully, this research can lead to better insight into the mechanisms of human skin pliability for future skin grafts and transplants.