Protein metabolism and fibrosis in experimental canine obstructive lymphedema

Kenneth R. Knight, Peter A. Collopy, John J. McCann, Craig A. Vanderkolk, Serena A. Coe, Ronald M. Barton, Hung Chi Chen, Bernard Mc C. O'Brien

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Obstructive lymphedema is a pathologic condition resulting in the accumulation and stagnation of serum proteins in the lymphatics and interstitial spaces. In a canine model of obstructive lymphedema, one limb was rendered lymphedematous, and various biochemical parameters were determined in this and an unaffected control limb. Both lymph and interstitial fluid had significantly decreased acid proteinase activity (comprising mostly cathepsin D-like enzymes) and neutral proteinase activity (comprising metallo, sulfhydryl, and serine proteinases, and collagenase). Possible reasons for these decreases could be: (1) saturation of macrophages and their surrounding environment with whole or partially digested proteins, or (2) elevation in the levels of circulating inhibitors like α2-macroglobulin. The lymphedematous skin was significantly thicker than control skin and had elevated levels of collagen. However, unlike some fibrotic conditions, the relative proportions of types I, III, and V collagen, as determined by pepsin solubilization and neutral salt fractionation of the collagen fibrils, were similar to those found in normal skin. It is speculated that a decrease in the breakdown of collagen by collagenase and a continuing synthesis of collagen by fibroblasts led to an imbalance in favor of collagen deposition in the skin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-566
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of laboratory and clinical medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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