Objective: To quantify the content of type I, III collagen and their ratio in normal human skin of different age, and to explore the regulation of changes.
Methods: The normal human skin specimens were obtained from 6 spontaneously aborted fetus and 56 burn patients of different ages, including infants (newborn -3 years), pre-school group ( > 3, < or =7 years), adolescent group ( >7, < or = 18 years), youth and middle age group ( > 18, < or = 50 years), and elderly group ( > 50 years), were studied. The total collagen content were determined by hydroxyproline method. The contents of type I, Ill collagen and their ratio were examined by immunohistochemistry.
Results: The total collagen content decreased along with increase in age, and it was highest in fetus [(543 +/- 13) microg/g]. The ratio between type I and Ill collagen increased along with increase in age. The content of type III collagen was highest in fetus [(278 +/- 7) microg/g], and it decreased along with increase in age. The content of type I collagen content was [(265 +/- 7) microg/g] in fetus, and it was increased slightly in infant and pre-school groups, then decreased along with advance in age.
Conclusion: Decomposition of type III collagen in normal human skin may exceed its synthesis after birth immediately, leading to its reduction. Synthesis of type I collagen in normal human skin is dominant before 8 years old, and it shows an opposite tendency afterwards.