A short inflammatory phase and fast ingrowth of blood vessels and mesenchymal cells are essential for tissue integration of a biomaterial. Macrophages play a key role in this process. We investigated invasion of macrophages, blood vessels, and proliferating cells into a highly porous and volume-stable collagen matrix (VCMX) used for soft tissue augmentation around teeth and dental implants. The biomaterial was implanted in submucosal pouches in the canine maxilla, and the tissue response was analyzed at six different time points. Immunohistochemistry was done for proliferating cells (PCNA), macrophages (MAC387), multinucleated giant cells (CD86), and blood vessels (TGM2). Blood rapidly filled the VCMX pores. During the first week, MAC387+ cells populated the VCMX pores, blood vessels and PCNA+ cells invaded the VCMX, and CD86+ scattered cells were observed. At 15 days, MAC387+ cells were scanty, blood vessels had completely invaded the VCMX, the number of proliferating cells peaked, and fibroblasts appeared. At 30 days, MAC387+ were absent, the numbers of proliferating and CD86+ cells had declined, while blood vessel and fibroblast numbers were high. At 90 days, residual VCMX was well-integrated in soft connective tissue. In conclusion, the VCMX elicited a short inflammatory phase followed by rapid tissue integration.
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