Scanning Microscopy


Fibroblast and epidermal cell-type I collagen sponge interactions were studied in cell culture as well as in humans. In cell culture, fibroblasts were observed to migrate and proliferate throughout a type I collagen sponge containing either hyaluronic acid (HA) or fibronectin (FN). Fibroblasts accumulated in the center of the pores in sponges containing HA and appeared to surround themselves with newly synthesized extracellular matrix. In sponges containing FN, fibroblasts attached to and elongated along the collagen fibers of the sponge. In the absence of FN or HA protein synthesis of fibroblasts appeared to be inhibited by the presence of the type I collagen sponge. Epidermal cells grown on plastic or on type I collagen, formed sheets. Epidermal cells grown on a collagen sponge morphologically appeared different than cells grown on plastic.

The type I collagen matrix studied in cell culture was applied to dermal wounds of patients with pressure ulcers in order to evaluate its effect on dermal wound healing. The areas of ulcers treated for 6 weeks with a type I collagen sponge decreased by about 40% compared with no change in the areas of untreated controls. Preliminary results suggest that a type I collagen sponge is a biocornpatible substrate with fibroblasts and epidermal cells and may be effective in enhancing healing of chronic skin ulcers.

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