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Collagen (protein)

  • Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and serves as a strengthener of the tissues it is present in.
  • In the Skin, collagen is located in the dermis and its meshwork is responsible for its tensile strength (and volume although to a lesser extend than hyaluronic acid).
  • Its synthesis is a complex pathway taking place first in cells called fibroblasts, from procollagen and involves different cell components (called organelles): Ribosomes, Endoplasmic Reticulum, Golgi Apparatus. It then assembles in fibers outside of the cell (extracellular environment).
  • Different types are identified, collagen I making about 90% of the total in the body.
    • Collagen VII serves to anchor the epidermis (via the basement membrane) to the rest of the skin.
    • Collagen IV is the main type in the basement membrane.
  • Collagen loss is linked to wrinkling and certain inherited diseases such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Epidermolysis Bullosa (Dystrophic type, collagen VII).
  • Vitamin C is essential in collagen synthesis within the cell (a process called hydroxylation of amino acids): deficiency leads to Scurvy. Collagen shows its role as the gums of the teeth are unable to retain them, and they fall.