Physicochemical Properties of Vascular Elastin

  • C. P. Winlove
  • K. H. Parker
Part of the Topics in Molecular and Structural Biology book series (TMSB)


The existence of distinct elastic elements in the blood vessel wall was recognized by the early histologists (Henle, 1843), but knowledge of the chemistry of elastin evolved only slowly (Richards and Gres, 1902). The biochemical properties of elastin have also excited relatively little attention in comparison with collagen and the proteoglycans, but with the development of new experimental techniques there has been a resurgence of interest and some significant recent advances in our understanding (Mecham, 1981; Sandberg et al., 1981; Rosenbloom, 1984). A review written only 15 years ago commented: ‘There is probably more confusion in the minds of histologists, physiologists, biochemists and pathologists concerning the properties of this unique substance (the “elastica”) than any other of the components of blood vessel walls’ (Cliff, 1976). In concentrating on the physicochemical properties of elastic tissue, this chapter might have hoped to avoid areas of controversy. However, investigations on the mechanical properties have a history of confusion and contradiction, and the fact that studies on other aspects of elastin biophysics are surrounded by less controversy probably merely reflects the lower level of interest in these areas.


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Copyright information

© The Macmillan Press Ltd 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. P. Winlove
  • K. H. Parker

There are no affiliations available

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