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Tailoring the properties of cholecyst-derived extracellular matrix using carbodiimide cross-linking.Modulation of properties of extracellular matrix (ECM) based scaffolds is key for their application in the clinical setting. In the present study, cross-linking was used as a tool for tailoring the properties of cholecyst-derived extracellular matrix (CEM). CEM was cross-linked with varying cross-linking concentrations of N,N-(3-dimethyl aminopropyl)-N'-ethyl carbodiimide (EDC) in the presence of N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS). Shrink temperature measurements and ATR-FT-IR spectra were used to determine the degree of cross-linking. The effect of cross-linking on degradation was tested using the collagenase assay. Uniaxial tensile properties and the ability to support fibroblasts were also evaluated as a function of cross-linking. Shrink temperature increased from 59 degrees C for non-cross-linked CEM to 78 degrees C for the highest EDC cross-linking concentration, while IR peak area ratios for the free -NH(2) group at 3290 cm(-1) to that of the amide I band at 1635 cm(-1) decreased with increasing EDC cross-linking concentration. Collagenase assay demonstrated that degradation rates for CEM can be tailored. EDC concentrations 0 to 0.0033 mmol/mg CEM were the cross-linking concentration range in which CEM showed varied susceptibility to collagenase degradation. Furthermore, cross-linking concentrations up to 0.1 mmol EDC/mg CEM did not have statistically significant effect on the uniaxial tensile strength, as well as morphology, viability and proliferation of fibroblasts on CEM. In conclusion, the degradation rates of CEM can be tailored using EDC-cross-linking, while maintaining the mechanical properties and the ability of CEM to support cells.