The present study describes the assessment of true formation of type III collagen in different pathologies using a neo-epitope specific competitive Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) towards the N-terminal propeptide of type III collagen (PRO-C3).


The monoclonal antibody was raised against the N-protease mediated cleavage site of the N-terminal propeptide of type III collagen and a competitive ELISA was developed using the selected antibody. The assay was evaluated in relation to neo-epitope specificity, technical performance, and as a marker for liver fibrosis and muscle mass using the rat carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) model and a study of immobilization induced muscle loss in humans, respectively.


The ELISA was neo-epitope specific, technically stable and can be assessed in serum and plasma samples. In the CCl4 liver fibrosis model it was observed that serum PRO-C3 were significantly elevated in rats with liver fibrosis as seen by histology (56% elevated in the highest quartile of total hepatic collagen compared to control rats, p\u003c0.001) and correlated significantly to total hepatic collagen in the diseased rats (r=0.46, p\u003c0.01) and not in control rats, suggesting the pathological origin of the epitope. Human plasma PRO-C3 correlated significantly to muscle mass at baseline (R(2)=0.44


The developed neo-epitope specific serum ELISA for type III procollagen (PRO-C3) reflects true formation as it is specific for the propeptide cleaved off the intact collagen molecule. In a clinical and in a rodent study we showed that this marker was highly related to liver fibrosis and muscle mass

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