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Scientists from Shanghai believe they have discovered an even better use for Tilapia than just fish and chips: Collagen extracted from tilapia can be applied as a wound dressing that helps accelerate healing. Collagen, a protein found in connective tissue which is produced by cells called fibroblasts, facilitates wound healing. Collagen from cows and pigs has been used previously, but the chance of disease transmission, in addition to religious objections, has prompted scientists to seek alternatives. The abundant supply of aquacultured tilapia makes for an attractive substitute. The researchers first analyzed the characteristics of collagen extracted from tilapia skin. Importantly, tilapia collagen did not appear to provoke an immune response. Furthermore, tilapia collagen encouraged the growth of fibroblasts and increased the expression of genes involved in wound healing. Thus, these experiments indicated that tilapia collagen is well-suited for regenerative medicine.

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