Analysis of Collagen Content in the Fetal Wound.

Geoffrey G. Hallock MD, Lehigh Valley Health Network
David C. Rice BS
Joseph R. Merkel PhD
Byron R. DiPaolo BA


The absence of apparent scar formation following the creation of surgical wounds in utero appears to be a phenomenon peculiarly privileged as a sequela of fetal wound healing. Little information exists to explain this disparity from our knowledge of adult wound healing. Therefore, following creation of surgical wounds in fetal rats, at different intervals the healing wounds were harvested and analyzed for collagen content and types. The average proportion of type III collagen was elevated in normal (26.5%) as well as wounded fetal skin (33.8%) when compared with normal levels for the adult (15%). The total collagen content was markedly diminished in the fetal wound. Although embryonal collagen synthesis apparently does exist in fetal reparative processes, the relationship to the lack of gross scarring remains undetermined.