Development of a tissue-engineered human oral mucosa: from the bench to the bed side.
Palatal donor sites are commonly used in periodontal surgery. Their healing speed determines the patient's comfort. This may be enhanced by the use of collagen sponges, supplemented with various components of the extracellular matrix, which display chemotactic properties and enhance the proliferation and synthesis activity of fibroblasts. A collagen-based dressing supplemented with such extracellular matrix components, including chondroitin 4 sulfate, heparan sulfate, and fibronectin was used, in an attempt to facilitate the healing of donor sites in 10 periodontal patients. Immunohistological techniques were used on biopsy samples from the margin of these volunteer's healing donor sites to appreciate tissue reconstruction around the synthetic material. Our results indicate a fast epithelial growth, neovascularization, and spatial organization of the new matrix. Limited and topographically selective inflammatory reactions, characterized by polymorphonuclears and mononuclear cells seen near the wound's margin, could be responsible for the production of soluble factors supporting reconstruction.