On the basis of the earlier examples of diazopyruvoyl (DAP) groups reported by Lawton for covalent binding and cross-linking of proteins and oligopeptides and our recent demonstration that a coumaryl diazopyruvamide was used to label Type-I collagen, we have extended our investigations to the synthesis and cross-linking capabilities of a bis-DAP polyethylene glycol to cross-link Type-I collagen. The new photoactivated cross-linking agent, N,N′-bis(3-diazopyruvoyl)-2,2′-(ethylenedioxy)bis(ethylamine) (DPD, 2), has been designed and synthesized specifically to “weld” collagenous tissues by cross-linking Type-I collagen. A working model for the photochemical welding studies of collagenous tissues was developed using gelatin strips (gel strips) composed of denatured Type-I collagen. Gel strips are transparent to near-UV and visible light, uniform in thickness, and have reproducible composition. Furthermore, the availability of nucleophilic amine sites in gel strips was demonstrated by reaction with o-phthalaldehyde, producing a fluorescent derivative of the protein. Gel strips were coated with a solution of DPD in chloroform 7 irradiated at 320–390 nm, and the resulting bonded gel strips were tested for the strength of the weld. The welds were generally brittle and had average tensile strengths that exceeded 100 N/cm2. Welds were not formed in the absence of light or DPD. Scanning electron microscopy studies revealed a pockmarked surface from severed welds. Welds of rabbit Achilles tendon were also obtained using the tethered diazopyruvamide. These welds were much weaker, having an average tensile strength of 11.95 N/cm2 for DPD–2,2′-ethylenedioxy(bis)ethylamine comonomers in the cross-linking reaction. In both studies the welds obtained by this method were significantly stronger than the controls.
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Vol. 78 • No. 1