In mammals, tissue regeneration is accomplished through a well-regulated, complex cascade of events. The disruption of the cellular and molecular processes involved in tissue healing might lead to scar formation. Most tissue engineering approaches have tried to improve the regenerative outcome following an injury, through the combination of biocompatible materials, stem cells and bioactive factors. However, implanted materials can cause further healing impairments due to the persistent inflammatory stimuli that trigger the onset of chronic inflammation. Here, it is described at the molecular, cellular and tissue level, the body response to a functionalized biomimetic collagen scaffold. The grafting of chondroitin sulfate on the surface of the scaffold is able to induce a pro-regenerative environment at the site of a subcutaneous implant. The early in situ recruitment, and sustained local retention of anti-inflammatory macrophages significantly reduced the pro-inflammatory environment and triggered a different healing cascade, ultimately leading to collagen fibril re-organization, blood vessel formation, and scaffold integration with the surrounding native tissue.
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