Quantitative and qualitative abnormalities of collagen were observed in tissues and fibroblast cultures from 17 consecutive cases of lethal perinatal osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). The content of type I collagen was reduced in OI dermis and bone and the content of type III collagen was also reduced in the dermis. Normal bone contained 99.3% type I and 0.7% type V collagen whereas OI bone contained a lower proportion of type I, a greater proportion of type V and a significant amount of type III collagen. The type III and V collagens appeared to be structurally normal. In contrast, abnormal type I collagen chains, which migrated slowly on electrophoresis, were observed in all babies with OI. Cultured fibroblasts from five babies produced a mixture of normal and abnormal type I collagens; the abnormal collagen was not secreted in two cases and was slowly secreted in the others. Fibroblasts from 12 babies produced only abnormal type I collagens and they were also secreted slowly. The slower electrophoretic migration of the abnormal chains was due to enzymic overmodification of the lysine residues. The distribution of the cyanogen bromide peptides containing the overmodified residues was used to localize the underlying structural abnormalities to three regions of the type I procollagen chains. These regions included the carboxy-propeptide of the pro alpha 1(I)-chain, the helical alpha 1(I) CB7 peptide and the helical alpha 1(I) CB8 and CB3 peptides. In one baby a basic charge mutation was observed in the alpha 1(I) CB7 peptide and in another baby a basic charge mutation was observed in the alpha 1(I) CB8 peptide. The primary defects in lethal perinatal OI appear to reside in the type I collagen chains. Type III and V collagens did not appear to compensate for the deficiency of type I collagen in the tissues.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.