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

Distribution of elastin in hamsters and the turnover rates of different elastin pools.

Desmosine (DES) and isodesmosine (IDES) concentration in the urine can be used as a noninvasive method of assessing degradation of mature elastin in normal and pathologic states. The present study was undertaken to determine the distribution of elastin among organs and tissues of normal hamsters, and to determine the turnover rates of two elastin-containing organs (lung, thoracic aorta) as a reflection of their contributions to DES and IDES excretion in the urine. Hamsters were metabolically labeled at 5 days of age with 14C-lysine and studied at 1.5, 4.5, 8, and 12 months of age. The aorta DES + IDES-associated radioactivity did not change significantly over the age span of 1.5-12 months. Lung DES + IDES-associated radioactivity decreased with a half-life of 420 days. Measurement of DES + IDES pools in other tissues, with relatively low concentrations of elastin, was carried out by the isotope dilution technique. At 12 months of age, the head and paws pool, skin, skeletal muscle, gastrointestinal tract, heart-liver-kidney-spleen pool, lungs, and thoracic aorta represented 37%, 28%, 13%, 11%, 6%, 4%, and 1%, respectively, of total body DES + IDES. The organs with the highest DES + IDES-specific radioactivity at 12 months were heart-liver-kidney-spleen, lung, and gastrointestinal tract, with 310, 217, and 217 dpm/nmol, respectively. Skin had the lowest specific radioactivity, with 90 dpm/nmol. The specific radioactivity of DES + IDES in urine was 62 dpm/nmol at 12 months, down from 251 dpm/nmol at 1.5 months. These data clearly indicate that non-lung tissues contain a high proportion of the total body DES + IDES and suggest that pathology in these other pools of DES + IDES could result in significant elevation of urinary DES + IDES. Nevertheless, the relatively high specific radioactivity of DES + IDES in lung elastin as compared with urine makes monitoring labeled urinary DES + IDES in this animal model a sensitive tool for assessing elastin degradation in experimental lung disease.[1]


  1. Distribution of elastin in hamsters and the turnover rates of different elastin pools. Stone, P.J., Lucey, E.C., Snider, G.L., Franzblau, C. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. (1997) [Pubmed]
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