In vivo degradation of processed dermal sheep collagen evaluated with transmission electron microscopy

P.B. van Wachem, M.J.A. van Luyn, P. Nieuwenhuis, H.K. Koerten, L. Olde Damink, H. ten Hoopen, J. Feijen

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The in vivo degradation of hexamethylenediisocyanate-tanned dermal sheep collagen was studied with transmission electron microscopy. Discs of hexamethylenediisocyanate-tanned dermal sheep collagen were subcutaneously implanted in rats. Both an intra- and an extracellular route of degradation could be distinguished. In addition to normal components of a typical foreign body reaction, remarkable phenomena, such as locally deviant neutrophil morphology, infiltration of basophil-like cells, indications of foreign body multinucleate giant cells formed from different cell types, aluminium silicate accumulations and calcium phosphate depositions, were observed. Foreign body multinucleate giant cells intracellularly degraded hexamethylenediisocyanate-tanned dermal sheep collagen after internalization. Both internalized and cellularly enveloped hexamethylenediisocyanate-tanned dermal sheep collagen degraded by the detachment of fibrils. Another extracellular route of degradation was characterized by calcium phosphate depositions in large bundles of hexamethylenediisocyanate-tanned dermal sheep collagen. From 6 wk, the hexamethylenediisocyanate-tanned dermal sheep collagen implant was replaced by rat connective tissue, which was subsequently also degraded. After 15 wk, the presence of basophil-like foreign body multinucleated giant cells containing aluminium/silicon-crystalline accumulations still persisted. These phenomena were related to the specific nature of the material used and suggest cytotoxicity. They emphasize the need for detailed evaluation at the ultrastructural level of newly developed biomaterials before they can be used for medical applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • METIS-105237
  • Collagen
  • Biodegradation
  • Transmission electron microscopy
  • IR-72973

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