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Histochem J. 1983 Dec;15(12):1177-90.

Investigation of relationships between collagens, elastin and proteoglycans in bovine thoracic aorta by immunofluorescence techniques.


Types I, III and V collagens and proteoglycan were localized in the aorta by indirect immunofluorescence techniques. Type I collagen was more prominent in media and adventitia than in intima while type III collagen predominated in intima and media but appeared less significant in adventitia. Type V collagen was observed in intima and media only and was seen surrounding smooth muscle cells. Type I collagen was located between elastic fibres but type III collagen appeared to envelop the fibres, suggesting an interaction between elastic fibres and type III collagen. Pretreatment of sections with testicular hyaluronidase caused no changes in staining for type I collagen, but adventitial areas showed increased staining for type III collagen. After digestion with chondroitinase ABC, intimal and medial areas showed increased staining for type III collagen. Therefore, type III collagen forms stronger interactions with proteoglycans and hyaluronic acid than does type I collagen and type III collagen in adventitia is largely masked by hyaluronic acid, while type III collagen in intima and media is associated with proteoglycan. Thus, type III collagen is a more significant component of adventitia than previously recognized. Proteoglycan was also partly localized along elastic fibres. It is, therefore, suggested that elastic fibres are coated with type III collagen, which itself is coated with proteoglycan.

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