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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Marfan syndrome. Demonstration of abnormal elastin in aorta.

Aortae from three patients with classic presentation of Marfan syndrome, who died of vascular complications, were subjected to biochemical analyses of the connective tissue; for comparison, aortae from eight age-matched controls, without evidence of connective tissue abnormalities, were examined. Elastin was prepared from the aortae by two techniques. First, the tissues were extracted with 5 M guanidine-HCl, bacterial collagenase digestion and reduction with dithiothreitol (elastin I preparation). Secondly, this material was further purified by extraction with 0.1 M NaOH at 99 degrees C (elastin II preparation). Amino acid analyses of both elastin preparations indicated that the values for desmosine and isodesmosine were reduced in Marfan cases to approximately one-half of the control values. A corresponding increase in lysyl residues was noted in elastin II preparations. Also, the concentration of elastin per milligram dry weight of tissue was reduced in Marfan cases. The hydroxyproline content of elastin was increased in two cases with the Marfan syndrome. Recoveries indicated that the alkali treatment solubilized 46.2% of the elastin I preparations in Marfan aortae compared with 23.7% in controls. In contrast to elastin, the concentration and solubility of collagen were unchanged; the amino acid composition and the genetic types of insoluble collagen isolated by limited pepsin proteolysis were the same in both Marfan and control aortae. The results of our study demonstrate that the cross-linking of aortic elastin is reduced in the three patients with Marfan syndrome. Thus, a defect in elastin could explain the vascular fragility observed clinically in these patients.[1]


  1. Marfan syndrome. Demonstration of abnormal elastin in aorta. Abraham, P.A., Perejda, A.J., Carnes, W.H., Uitto, J. J. Clin. Invest. (1982) [Pubmed]
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