Human amniotic membrane is comprised of the innermost layer of the placenta and lines the amniotic cavity. The membrane is composed of multiple layers including a single layer of epithelial cells, a basement membrane and an avascular connective tissue matrix. The tissues of the placenta present a very complex interrelationship of materials that possess numerous physiologic characteristics, that can in turn change in importance with the appropriate stage of gestation. During pregnancy, the placenta permits the passage of nutrients, metabolites and metabolic gases, and provides physical and immunological protection to the developing fetus. In addition, it produces a variety of steroids and important metabolic hormones.
Amniotic membrane is a unique material and its composition contains collagen types I, III, IV, V, and VII. Amniotic membrane is composed of structural extracellular matrix (ECM), that also contains specialized proteins fibronectin, laminins, proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans. In addition, amniotic membrane contains essential, active, healing growth factors such as epidermal growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factor beta (TGF-b), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and platelet derived growth factor (PDGF).8 Amniotic tissues have shown little to no HLA-A, B, C antigens and β2 microglobulin.3
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