Alpha 2(I) collagen deficient oim mice have altered biomechanical integrity, collagen content, and collagen crosslinking of their thoracic aorta

Brent J. Pfeiffer, Craig L. Franklin, Fu Hung Hsieh, Rudolf A. Bank, Charlotte L. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


Collagen and elastin are the primary determinants of vascular integrity, with elastin hypothesized to be the major contributor to aortic compliance and type I collagen the major contributor to aortic strength and stiffness. Type I collagen is normally heterotrimeric composed of two α1(I) and one α2(I) collagen chains, α1(I)2α2(I). Recent investigations have reported that patients with recessively inherited forms of Ehlers Danlos syndrome that fail to synthesize proα2(I) chains have increased risks of cardiovascular complications. To assess the role of α2(I) collagen in aortic integrity, we used the osteogenesis imperfecta model (oim) mouse. Oim mice, homozygous for a COL1A2 mutation, synthesize only homotrimeric type I collagen, α1(I)3. We evaluated thoracic aortas from 3-month-old oim, heterozygote, and wildtype mice biomechanically for circumferential breaking strength (Fmax) and stiffness (IEM), histologically for morphological differences, and biochemically for collagen content and crosslinking. Circumferential biomechanics of oim and heterozygote descending thoracic aortas demonstrated the anticipated reduced Fmax and IEM relative to wildtype mice. Histological analyses of oim descending aortas demonstrated reduced collagen staining relative to wildtype aortas suggesting decreased collagen content, which hydroxyproline analyses of ascending and descending oim aortas confirmed. These findings suggest the reduced oim thoracic aortic integrity correlates with the absence of the α2(I)collagen chains and in part with reduced collagen content. However, oim ascending aortas also demonstrated a significant increase in pyridinoline crosslinks/collagen molecule as compared to wildtype ascending aortas. The role of increased collagen crosslinks is uncertain; increased crosslinking may represent a compensatory mechanism for the decreased integrity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-458
Number of pages8
JournalMatrix Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005



  • Aorta
  • Biomechanics
  • Crosslinks
  • Oim
  • Type I collagen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology

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