The mechanical function and structure of aortic ...

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Title The mechanical function and structure of aortic microfibrils in the lobster Homarus americanus
Author(s) C. T. Bussiere, Glenda M. Wright, M. E. DeMont
Journal Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Date 2006
Volume 143
Issue 4
Start page 417
End page 428
Abstract Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder affecting the cardiovascular system, is caused by mutations of fibrillin-based microfibrils. These mutations often affect the calcium-binding domains, resulting in structural changes to the proteins. It is hypothesized that these Ca+2 binding sites regulate the structure and mechanical properties of the microfibrils. The mechanical properties of fresh and extracted lobster aortic rings in calcium solutions (1, 13 and 30 mM Ca+2) were measured. Samples underwent amino acid compositional analysis. Antibodies were produced against the material comprising extracted aortic rings. The ultrastructure of strained and unstrained samples was examined using transmission electron microscopy. Calcium level altered the tangent modulus of fresh vessels. These rings were significantly stiffer when tested at 30 mM Ca+2 compared to rings tested at 1 mM Ca+2. Amino acid comparisons between extracted samples, porcine and human fibrillin showed compositional similarity. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that antibodies produced against the material in extracted samples localized to the known microfibrillar elements in the lobster aorta and cross-reacted with fibrillin microfibrils of mammalian ciliary zonules. Ultrastructurally, vessels incubated in low calcium solutions showed diffuse interbead regions while those incubated in physiological or high calcium solutions showed interbead regions with more defined lateral edges.
DOI 10.1016/j.cbpa.2005.09.020

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