This study describes the effect of fluoride ingestion (10 mg NaF/kg body weight per day) for up to 180 days, on the biosynthesis, maturation and degradation of rabbit skin collagen. Higher intake of fluoride interferes with the collagen biosynthesis resulting in a reduction in the collagen content (in terms of hydroxyproline). Fluoride administration increases the solubility of collagen by reducing the amounts of cross-link precursors, thus impairing the cross-linking and maturation of tissue collagen fibers. Collagen degradation by the collagen-bound collagenase is increased due to the accumulation of higher pools of soluble collagen.
It is concluded that fluoride, ingested in excessive amounts, increases the solubility and degradation of collagen and reduces the collagen biosynthesis and cross-links. Therefore, the matured tissue collagen fibers would be abnormal due to inadequate cross-linking.