(Electron) microscopic observations on tissue integration of collagen-immobilized polyurethane

Biomaterials. 2002 Mar;23(6):1401-9. doi: 10.1016/s0142-9612(01)00174-0.


The foreign body reactions to collagen-immobilized polyurethane (PU-CI) films during subcutaneous implantation in rats were characterized. The underlying concept is that collagen-immobilization will improve the tissue integration. Since the method of collagen-immobilization involves the covalent coupling of collagen to an acrylic acid (AA) based surface graft, both non-modified PU and PU-AA were used as controls. Bare PU has a flat surface, whereas both PU-AA and PU-CI displayed a slightly roughened surface. Implantation showed that PU-CI induced early after implantation a far more intense foreign body reaction than PU and PU-AA. This reaction consisted of increased presence of fibrin, granulocytes and macrophages. Roughening of the surface as with PU-AA induced only a small increase in fibrin formation and cellular migration. At day 5 the reaction to PU-CI had slowed down; giant cell formation now slowly started but was decreased compared to PU and PU-AA. At day 10 capsules around each type of material looked similar, but in contrast to PU. PU-CI films could no longer be dissected from their capsules. Only at week 3 this also occurred with PU, at which time point again similar capsules with the three materials were observed. At week 6, of the three materials PU-CI showed the thinnest capsule with most immediate adherence of connective tissue. These results show that collagen-immobilization of PU increased the early tissue reaction and therefore the tissue integration. The thin capsule observed at 6 weeks may be beneficial in e.g. infectious circumstances, when easy access for immune reactions is needed. This, and the long-term performance of PU-CI will be a matter of future investigations.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials*
  • Cell Movement
  • Collagen / chemistry*
  • Fibrin / chemistry
  • Granulocytes / ultrastructure
  • Macrophages / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Polyurethanes / chemistry*
  • Rats
  • Time Factors


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Polyurethanes
  • Fibrin
  • Collagen