The effect of glycosaminoglycans on the invasion of choroid fibroblasts into type I collagen gels was studied. Both hyaluronate and chondroitin sulphate, when incorporated into the gel, facilitated invasion of the collagen matrix, although hyaluronate was considerably more effective. Hyaluronate-induced fibroblast invasion was markedly concentration-dependent, being reduced at both high and low concentrations. Increased cell invasion appeared to correlate with denser packing of collagen fibrils within the gel, since the same effect could be achieved by increasing the collagen concentration of native, i.e. glycosaminoglycan-free gels. Scanning electron microscopy of the interior of the collagen gels suggested that changes in packing arrangement of fibrils in gels that had polymerized in the presence of glycosaminoglycans might account in part for different rates of cell invasion.

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