1. Collagen in cartilage tissues behaves like liquid crystals in a smart phone screen

    Collagen in cartilage tissues behaves like liquid crystals in a smart phone screen

    The collagen changes its crystallinity in response to physical forces, so the ordered arrangement in collagen molecules of the cartilage in our knees may be flipping from one structural state to another with every step we take. The results, published in the journal ACS Nano, cast new light on how cartilage is able to withstand the demanding mechanical environment of the joint and may eventually help to explain why cartilage breaks down with ageing or arthritis. Dr Himadri Gupta, from QMUL's School of Engineering and Materials Science, said: "Pain and reduced mobility due to joint diseases currently affects over ...

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    1. Pain and reduced mobility due to joint diseases currently affects over 8 million people in the UK, the majority of these aged over 65. With increasing life expectancy, understanding how to ensure healthy ageing is extremely important.
    2. The response of collagen to physical forces is critical to the function of cartilage in our joints and therefore understanding this behaviour may help us develop new strategies to prevent cartilage degradation.