Two cross-links unique to elastin, desmosine and isodesmosine were measured and compared in skin tissue (left upper arm) from 10 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and from seven age-matched controls. The contents of desmosine and isodesmosine were significantly decreased (p < 0.01 and p < 0.01, respectively) in patients with ALS compared with those of controls, and were negatively and significantly associated with duration of illness in ALS patients (r = -0.77, p < 0.01 and r = -0.65, p < 0.05, respectively). The decline in skin desmosine and isodesmosine is more rapid in ALS than in normal ageing. Thus cross-linking of skin elastin is affected in ALS.
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