Normal wound healing progresses through inflammatory, proliferative and remodeling phases in response to tissue injury. Collagen, a key component of the extracellular matrix, plays critical roles in the regulation of the phases of wound healing either in its native, fibrillar conformation or as soluble components in the wound milieu. Impairments in any of these phases stall the wound in a chronic, non-healing state that typically requires some form of intervention to guide the process back to completion. Key factors in the hostile environment of a chronic wound are persistent inflammation, increased destruction of ECM components caused by elevated metalloproteinases and other enzymes and improper activation of soluble mediators of the wound healing process. Collagen, being central in the regulation of several of these processes, has been utilized as an adjunct wound therapy to promote healing. In this work the significance of collagen in different biological processes relevant to wound healing are reviewed and a summary of the current literature on the use of collagen-based products in wound care is provided.
Keywords: collagen; collagen dressings; engineered collagen; extracellular matrix; inflammation; signaling; wound healing.