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American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology

Age-related changes in rat dermal extracellular matrix composition affect the distribution of plasma proteins as a function of size and charge.


PMID 25362136

Abstract

Collagen and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) constituting the ECM may limit the space available and thus exclude macromolecules from a fraction of the interstitial fluid (IF) phase. This exclusion phenomenon is of importance for transcapillary fluid and solute exchange. The purpose of the study was to examine the range of interstitial exclusion in rat skin by using probes within a span of molecular weights and electrical charge and also to test if a change in interstitial composition, occurring as a consequence of aging, affected exclusion. To this end, we used a novel approach, involving the exact determination of albumin concentration and mass in IF and tissue eluate by HPLC and thereafter, expressing the corresponding numbers relative to albumin for a set of probe proteins assessed by quantitative proteomics. Albumin was excluded from 55±4% (n=8) of the extracellular fluid phase. There was a highly significant, positive correlation between probe Stokes-Einstein (SE) radius and fractional excluded volume (VEF), described by VEF=0.078·SE radius+0.269 (P<0.001), and oppositely, a negative correlation between probe isoelectric point (pI) and exclusion for proteins with comparable size, VEF=-0.036·pI+0.719 (P=0.04). Aging resulted in a significant reduction in skin hydration and sulfated GAGs, a moderate increase in hyaluronan, and a corresponding, reduced VEF for albumin and the other macromolecular probes. Our findings suggest that the changes in the ECM in aged skin may result in delayed adjustments of fluid perturbations and reduced ability for salt storage.

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