The effect of DL-penicillamine on the architecture of the aortic wall of growing chickens was studied, with particular attention to elastin and collagen. Penicillamine was added to the diet (0.2% and 0.4%, in the presence or not of 10 mg/kg CuSO4 and 100 mg/kg vitamin B6) from hatching, for periods from 7 days up to 2 months. The same regions of the thoracic aortas were examined and compared in all the different experimental conditions. The results showed that penicillamine induced relevant modifications in the process of elastin fibrogenesis. The alterations consisted of an increase of elastin in the extracellular space, associated with an increase in the number of elastin fibers per unit area, and a decrease of the mean profile area of the fibers. Interestingly, penicillamine induced the formation of numerous bundles of microfibrils associated or not with elastin fibers. After prolonged treatment, elastin tended to diminish and the fibers tended to fuse into polymorphic syncytia. Collagen fibrils were larger, showed more heterogeneous cross diameters, were less numerous, and were more spread out within the tissue. All the other components of the aortic wall appeared not to be altered by the chemical. Penicillamine did not modify the copper content of chick aortas, whereas it induced a 40-50% reduction of the activity of both salt and 4 M urea-soluble peptidyl lysyl oxidases in the same tissue. These data may help in understanding some of the pathologic manifestations in human beings during penicillamine treatment.
Effect of DL-penicillamine on the aorta of growing chickens. Ultrastructural and biochemical studies / Ronchetti, Ip.; Fornieri, C.; Contri, Mb.; Quaglino, D.; Caselgrandi, E.. - In: THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PATHOLOGY. - ISSN 0002-9440. - 124:3(1986), pp. 436-447.