Research Article| Volume 153, ISSUE 1, P92-95, September 01, 1985

Content of the collagen and elastin cross-links pyridinoline and the desmosines in the human uterus in various reproductive states

  • Zeenat Gunja-Smith
    Reprint requests: Dr. Zeenat Gunja-Smith, Department of Medicine, R-127, University of Miami School of Medicine, P.O. Box 016960, Miami, FL 33101.
    Department of Medicine, University of Miami School of Medicine Miami, Florida, USA.

    Department of Biochemistry, University of Miami School of Medicine Miami, Florida, USA.
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  • J.Frederick Woessner Jr.
    Department of Medicine, University of Miami School of Medicine Miami, Florida, USA.

    Department of Biochemistry, University of Miami School of Medicine Miami, Florida, USA.
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      During pregnancy the collagen content of the human uterus increases sevenfold and the elastin content increases fourfold to fivefold. The stable pyridinoline cross-link is found in uterine collagen at a level of 0.11 mol per mole of collagen. The same ratio, or a higher one, is found at the end of pregnancy, indicating that pyridinoline synthesis keeps pace with the rapid synthesis of collagen. This cross-link would participate in the maintenance of high mechanical strength of the uterus needed during parturition. Uterine elastin contains 2.4 residues of desmosine plus isodesmosine in 1000 residues of amino acids. This value falls to 0.95 at term, indicating that synthesis of desmosines does not keep pace with the synthesis of elastin. Therefore, desmosine measurements do not provide an accurate index of elastin changes in pregnancy. Collagen and elastin contents in nongravid uteri increase with successive pregnancies; the cross-links remain constant during this change.


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