In contrast with smooth-muscle cells from the same tissue, endothelial cells from pig aorta were found to exhibit in culture considerable variability in the pattern of collagen synthesis between one isolation of cells and the next. Synthesis varied from largely collagen type I to virtually all type III in the absence of type I but with small amounts still of collagens types IV and V, to, in one instance, synthesis basically of only type V. Synthesis usually by these cells of collagen predominantly of the interstitial type (I and III) rather than, as might be expected, that from basement membrane (type IV) was not attributable to the influence of subculture. All four collagen types were deposited in the cell layer to an increased extent in primary compared with secondary cultures of either smooth muscle or endothelial origin. Endothelial cells appeared sometimes to synthesize a large-Mr collagenous entity that might conceivably be related to ‘short-chain’ collagen. In addition, small-Mr hydroxyproline-containing peptides were detected that might reflect rapid collagen(s) turnover in endothelial cultures.

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