What is the Difference Between Elastin vs.Collagen?

Connective tissues, such as fats, tendons, blood, and cartilage, are important structures of the body that provide support and allows movement of other tissue types. There are 2 main components of connective tissues: collagen and elastin. Belonging to a group of structural proteins, both collagen and elastin are important molecules of the dermis.

Similarities and differences between elastin vs collagen

Similarities

  • Both are produced by the fibroblast cells.
  • Both are important in providing stength and flexibility to tissues.
  • Both are degraded or produced less as the person ages.
  • Decreased production of these proteins lead to wrinkles.
  • Both are essential components of the extracellular matrix.
  • Both hinder the diffusion of macromolecules in the dermis.
  • The 2 proteins bind with hyaluronic acid (HA) covalently and make up a 3-dimensional structure that is impaired in the ageing skin.

Structural proteins are considered the backbone of tissues. These components must be formed and degraded in a balanced fashion to maintain the health and integrity of the skin. Changes in the dermis and damaged collagen and elastin promote the manifestation of wrinkles. Although elastin is similar to collagen in many ways, they have a set of differences.

Differences

Collagen

Elastin

It is most abundant protein in the body.

It is less abundant than collagen.

It is commonly found in the skin, muscles, blood vessels, bones, and cornea.

It is commonly found in the skin and blood vessels.

It is produced throughout life until the start of ageing, where it is markedly diminished.

Its production is higher in fetal form and ceased after puberty.

It is less tensile than elastin.

It has a very elastic quality.

It gives strength and flexibility to connective tissues.

Although not as strong as collagen, it provides more flexibility. It allows connective tissues to spring back into shape when stretched.

It is easily destroyed by sunlight (UV light), resulting in a net loss of collagen.

It is formed in greater quantities when exposed to sunlight, but the elastin fibres are thickened or fractured.