Collagen plays an active role in the aggregation of β2- microglobulin under physiopathological conditions of dialysis-related amyloidosis

Annalisa Relini, Claudio Canale, Silvia De Stefano, Ranieri Rolandi, Sofia Giorgetti, Monica Stoppini, Antonio Rossi, Federico Fogolari, Alessandra Corazza, Gennaro Esposito, Alessandra Gliozzi, Vittorio Bellotti

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Dialysis-related amyloidosis is characterized by the deposition of insoluble fibrils of β2-microglobulin (β2-m) in the musculoskeletal system. Atomic force microscopy inspection of ex vivo amyloid material reveals the presence of bundles of fibrils often associated to collagen fibrils. Aggregation experiments were undertaken in vitro with the aim of reproducing the physiopathological fibrillation process. To this purpose, atomic force microscopy, fluorescence techniques, and NMR were employed. We found that in temperature and pH conditions similar to those occurring in periarticular tissues in the presence of flogistic processes, β2-m fibrillogenesis takes place in the presence of fibrillar collagen, whereas no fibrils are obtained without collagen. Moreover, the morphology of β2-m fibrils obtained in vitro in the presence of collagen is extremely similar to that observed in the ex vivo sample. This result indicates that collagen plays a crucial role in β2-m amyloid deposition under physiopathological conditions and suggests an explanation for the strict specificity of dialysis-related amyloidosis for the tissues of the skeletal system. We hypothesize that positively charged regions along the collagen fiber could play a direct role in β2-m fibrillogenesis. This hypothesis is sustained by aggregation experiments performed by replacing collagen with a poly-L-lysine-coated mica surface. As shown by NMR measurements, no similar process occurs when poly-L-lysine is dissolved in solution with β2-m. Overall, the findings are consistent with the estimates resulting from a simplified collagen model whereby electrostatic effects can lead to high local concentrations of oppositely charged species, such as β2-m, that decay on moving away from the fiber surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16521-16529
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 16 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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