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Glucose Suppresses Biological Ferroelectricity in Aortic Elastin

jiangyuli's picture

 PRL 110, 168101 (2003)

Elastin is an intriguing extracellular matrix protein present in all
connective tissues of vertebrates, rendering essential elasticity to
connective tissues subjected to repeated physiological stresses. Using
piezoresponse force microscopy, we show that the polarity of aortic
elastin is switchable by an electrical field, which may be associated
with the recently discovered biological ferroelectricity in the aorta.
More interestingly, it is discovered that the switching in aortic
elastin is largely suppressed by glucose treatment, which appears to
freeze the internal asymmetric polar structures of elastin, making it
much harder to switch, or suppressing the switching completely. Such
loss of ferroelectricity could have important physiological and
pathological implications from aging to arteriosclerosis that are
closely related to glycation of elastin.

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