Non-enzymatic advanced glycation end product (AGE) cross-linking of collagen molecules has been hypothesised to result in significant changes to the mechanical properties of the connective tissues within the body, potentially resulting in a number of age related diseases. We have investigated the effect of two of these cross-links, glucosepane and DOGDIC, on the tensile and lateral moduli of the collagen molecule through the use of a steered molecular dynamics approach, using previously identified preferential formation sites for intra-molecular cross-links. Our results show that the presence of intra-molecular AGE cross-links increases the tensile and lateral Young's moduli in the low strain domain by between 3.0–8.5% and 2.9–60.3% respectively, with little effect exhibited at higher strains.
Collier, T. A., Nash, A., Birch, H. L., & de Leeuw, N. H. (2018). Effect on the mechanical properties of type I collagen of intra-molecular lysine-arginine derived advanced glycation end-product cross-linking. Journal of Biomechanics, 67, 55–61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.11.021