Proteoglycan Alterations in the Aortic Intima-Media of Alloxan-Diabetic Rabbits: An Ultrastructural and Biochemical Study
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Proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans in the aortic intima of diabetic rabbits and age-matched controls were examined at 2 weeks and 3, 6, and 12 months after alloxan (or saline) treatment. Measurements were made by morphometric analysis of ruthenium red-stained large proteoglycan granules (LPG) in electron micrographs and by analysis of 35S-labeled glycosaminoglycans, extracted and purified from the intima-media of aortas of rabbits which had been injected with 35S-sulfate 18 hr before exsanguination. There was a progressive increase in the area of the aortic intima with time which was greater in diabetic than in control rabbits. The concentration of proteoglycan (LPG/microns 2) and the concentration of the 35S-glycosaminoglycans in diabetic intima-media were similar to respective values of control intima-media throughout the 12 months. However, the specific radioactivity of the [35S]glycosaminoglycan pool from intima-media of diabetic rabbits was significantly less than that from controls (P < 0.001) at 6 and 12 months. In addition, the staining intensity of LPG of the diabetic compared to control extracellular matrix was decreased at these times. The profile and electrophoretic mobility of the glycosaminoglycan types were similar in diabetic and control intima-media. We conclude that the onset of diabetes in the rabbit has altered the metabolic turnover but not the concentration, sulfate content or profile of aortic intima-media proteoglycan and glycosaminoglycans.
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