This investigation has sought to determine the relation between collagen fiber and fibroblast during fibrogenesis. Toward this end the surfaces of chick fibroblasts grown under in vitro conditions have been examined with the electron microscope after fixation in OsO4. Supplementary information has been obtained from thin sections of fibroblasts fixed in situ during phases of fiber production.
The evidence provided by these studies and by various conditions of the experiments indicates that the unit fibrils of collagen form in close association with the cell surface. They were never observed within the cell. When these unit fibrils form in bundles it appears as though templates of some nature, possibly coinciding with stress fibers within the cell cortex, influence the polymerization of the fibrils out of material available at the cell surface. From here the fibrils and bundles of them are shed into the intercellular spaces and there grow to limited diameters by accretion of materials from the general milieu.