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Title: Immunohistological studies of connective tissues
Author: Scott, D. G.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1971
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This thesis is concerned with immunohistological studies of adult human connective tissues and with connective tissues in the adult and embryonic rat. The concept that the constitution of connective tissues represents a response by synthesising cells to their environment, provides a basis for conjecture concerning the processes involved in ageing and rheumatoid disease. The concept that a mutual interplay between a cell and its environment is involved in the maintenance of the integrity of connective tissues has, it is suggested, relevance to rheumatoid disease. Alterations in the representation of any one constituent of connective tissue, whether attributable to abnormal genetic endowment or somatic mutation in the relevant synthesizing cell, are likely to initiate changes in the environment, and therefore the function of cells synthesizing related constituents of connective tissue. Although this concept takes into account the view that rheumatoid disease involves a restricted number of somatic mutations, responsible perhaps for the formation of a tissue constituent which is abnormally susceptible to damage by trauma or infection, a major difficulty arises. The present concept appears to require that to the rheumatoid factors be ascribed a role in the metabolism, or in the control of the synthesis of one or other of the constituents of adult connective tissue. This view is hardly tenable, It may be, however, that the rheumatoid factors reflect the activity of a gene- enzyme system which is responsible for the synthesis of a constituent of connective tissue peculiarly susceptible to degradation by trauma or micro -organisms. It is not necessary, however, to deny immune mechanisms as a role in the production of rheumatoid factors. The view that rheumatoid factors reflect intense immunological activity in rheumatoid disease is not necessarily irreconcilable with the proposition that one of the initiating events in rheumatoid disease may be the synthesis of a constituent of connective tissue which is abnormally susceptible to degradation by the action of micro -organisms or trauma. In connection with ageing, the possibility is considered that subtle changes in the structure of the collagen molecule may contribute to the age associated alterations in the rheological properties of collagen. This is not to deny the proposition that the increased structural stability of aged collagen is to be attributed to an increase in the number and strength of cross links between and within collagen macromolecules, but merely to suggest that the nature of the intra- and inter-molecular cross links, the rate at which they can form, and the ease with which cross linking agents can react with adjacent collagen macromolecules, are governed by the subtle structure of the collagen molecule. The proposition that ageing is associated with changes in the subtle structure of the collagen molecule may be open to investigation by means of a study of the patterns of immunological reactivity manifested by neutral salt-soluble, acetic acid-soluble and insoluble collagen obtained from subjects of different ages.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available