, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 519–525 | Cite as

Skin as marker for collagen type I/III ratio in abdominal wall fascia

  • E. Peeters
  • G. De Hertogh
  • K. Junge
  • U. Klinge
  • M. Miserez
Original Article



An altered collagen metabolism could play an important role in hernia development. This study compared collagen type I/III ratio and organisation between hernia and control patients, and analysed the correlation in collagen type I/III ratio between skin and abdominal wall fascia.


Collagen organisation was analysed in Haematoxylin–Eosin sections of anterior rectus sheath fascia, and collagen type I/III ratio, by crosspolarisation microscopy, in Sirius-Red sections of skin and anterior rectus sheath fascia, of 19 control, 10 primary inguinal, 10 recurrent inguinal, 13 primary incisional and 8 recurrent incisional hernia patients.


Compared to control patients [7.2 (IQR = 6.8–7.7) and 7.2 (IQR = 5.8–7.9)], collagen type I/III ratio was significantly lower in skin and anterior rectus sheath fascia of primary inguinal [5.2 (IQR = 3.8–6.3) and 4.2 (IQR = 3.8–4.7)], recurrent inguinal [3.2 (IQR = 3.1–3.6) and 3.3 (IQR = 3–3.7)], primary incisional [3.5 (IQR = 3–3.9) and 3.4 (IQR = 3.3–3.6)] and recurrent incisional hernia [3.2 (IQR = 3.1–3.9) and 3.2 (IQR = 2.9–3.2)] patients; also incisional and recurrent inguinal hernia had lower ratio than primary inguinal hernia patients. Furthermore, collagen type I/III ratio was significantly correlated (r = 0.81; P < 0.001) between skin and anterior rectus sheath fascia. Finally, collagen organisation was comparable between hernia and control patients.


Furthermore, in both skin and abdominal wall fascia of hernia patients, collagen type I/III ratio was lower compared to control patients, with more pronounced abnormalities in incisional and recurrent inguinal hernia patients. Importantly, collagen type I/III ratio in skin was representative for that in abdominal wall fascia.


Abdominal wall hernia Etiology Collagen type I/III Collagen organisation Skin Anterior rectus sheath fascia 



EP is supported by a Ph.D. grant of the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation through Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT Vlaanderen). MM is supported by a research grant from the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (FWO-Vlaanderen). The authors gratefully thank Steffen Fieuws from the Leuven Biostatistics and Statistical Bioinformatics Centre (L-BioStat) for his help with the statistical analyses and Ellen Krott for her help with the Sirius Red analyses.

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any conflicts of interest to declare concerning this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Peeters
    • 1
  • G. De Hertogh
    • 2
  • K. Junge
    • 3
  • U. Klinge
    • 3
  • M. Miserez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Abdominal SurgeryUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryTechnical University of AachenAachenGermany

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