Widespread Effects of Defective Collagen

Collagen – Wikipedia – This protein, affected by Ehlers-Danlos and other connective tissue disorders, has multiple critical roles and gives structural support throughout the whole body.

Collagen is the main structural protein in the extracellular space in the various connective tissues in animal bodies.

As the main component of connective tissue, it is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up from 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content.

Depending upon the degree of mineralization, collagen tissues may be rigid (bone), compliant (tendon), or have a gradient from rigid to compliant (cartilage). 

Collagen, in the form of elongated fibrils, is mostly found in fibrous tissues such as tendons, ligaments and skin.

It is also abundant in corneas, cartilage, bones, blood vessels, the gut, intervertebral discs, and the dentin in teeth.[2]

In muscle tissue, it serves as a major component of the endomysium. Collagen constitutes one to two percent of muscle tissue, and accounts for 6% of the weight of strong, tendinous muscles.[3] The fibroblast is the most common cell that creates collagen.

The name collagen comes from the Greek κόλλα (kólla), meaning “glue“, and suffix -γέν, -gen, denoting “producing”.[

The name collagen comes from the Greek κόλλα (kólla), meaning “glue“, and suffix -γέν, -gen, denoting “producing”. This refers to the compound’s early use in the process of boiling the skin and tendons of horses and other animals to obtain glue.

So far, 28 types of collagen have been identified and described. The five most common types are:

  1. Type I: skin, tendon, vascular ligature, organs, bone (main component of the organic part of bone)
  2. Type II: cartilage (main collagenous component of cartilage)
  3. Type III: reticulate (main component of reticular fibers), commonly found alongside type I.
    Reticular fibers crosslink to form a fine meshwork (reticulin). This network acts as a supporting mesh in soft tissues such as liver, bone marrow, and the tissues and organs of the lymphatic system.
  4. Type IV: forms basal lamina, the epithelium-secreted layer of the basement membrane.
  5. Type V: cell surfaces, hair and placenta

Chemistry

The collagen protein is composed of a triple helix, which generally consists of two identical chains (α1) and an additional chain that differs slightly in its chemical composition (α2).

The amino acid composition of collagen is atypical for proteins, particularly with respect to its high hydroxyproline content.

The most common motifs in the amino acid sequence of collagen are glycineproline-X and glycine-X-hydroxyproline, where X is any amino acid other than glycine, proline or hydroxyproline.

Synthetic Pathogenesis

Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, a serious and painful disease in which defective collagen prevents the formation of strong connective tissue. Gums deteriorate and bleed, with loss of teeth; skin discolors, and wounds do not heal.

An autoimmune disease such as lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis may attack healthy collagen fibers.

Many bacteria and viruses secrete virulence factors, such as the enzyme collagenase, which destroys collagen or interferes with its production.

Diseases

One thousand mutations have been identified in 12 out of more than 20 types of collagen. These mutations can lead to various diseases at the tissue level.

Just two examples:

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome – Six different types of this disorder, which lead to deformities in connective tissue, are known. Some types can be lethal, leading to the rupture of arteries. Each syndrome is caused by a different mutation, for example type four of this disorder is caused by a mutation in collagen type 3.

Osteoporosis  – Not inherited genetically, brought on with age, associated with reduced levels of collagen in the skin and bones, growth hormone injections are being researched as a possible treatment to counteract any loss of collagen.

This is the first I’ve heard that osteoporosis also affects the skin.

Characteristics

Collagen is one of the long, fibrous structural proteins whose functions are quite different from those of globular proteins, such as enzymes.

Tough bundles of collagen called collagen fibers are a major component of the extracellular matrix that supports most tissues and gives cells structure from the outside, but collagen is also found inside certain cells.

Collagen has great tensile strength, and is the main component of fascia, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bone and skin.

Along with elastin and soft keratin, it is responsible for skin strength and elasticity, and its degradation leads to wrinkles that accompany aging.

It strengthens blood vessels and plays a role in tissue development.

It is present in the cornea and lens of the eye in crystalline form. It may be one of the most abundant proteins in the fossil record.

More information on collagen’s role in bones:

Collagen and Bone Matrix –  American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 2008 – by Susan Ott

Mature bone is composed of proteins and minerals.

Approximately 60% the weight of the bone is mineral, mainly calcium and phosphate.

The rest is water and matrix, which is formed before the mineral is deposited, and can be considered the scaffolding for the bone.

About 90% of the matrix proteins are collagen, which is the most abundant protein in the body.

Collagen is very strong and forms bone, cartilage, skin, and tendons.  

Collagen is formed as chains (short pieces of thread) which twists into triple helices (strings). These line up and are bonded together into ropes (fibrils). The fibrils then are arranged in layers, and mineral crystals will deposit between the layers.

For more detailed information, see the full Wikipedia link and also see posts at https://edsinfo.wordpress.com/tag/collagen/

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One thought on “Widespread Effects of Defective Collagen

  1. Emily Raven

    Heeeeyyyyyy isn’t that why those flouride based antibiotics like cipro are so problematic for so many of us, because they harden (mineralize) the collagen? I read something about it happening in high school aged medically normal kids where it was like it just snapped (this was an ankle tendon while they were playing soccer or something if I remember correctly.)

    Seems the very “building blocks” of all our tissues are often overlooked by even specialists.

    Liked by 1 person

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