Male mice with the sex-linked mutation Blotchy (Blo) have a defect in copper metabolism which results in deficient activity of a number of copper-containing enzymes. Inbred Blo/y mice spontaneously develop lung abnormalities which resemble emphysema and often die of ruptured aortic aneurysm. Lung, tail tendon, and tibial bone collagens from inbred Blo/y and their normal (+/y) litter mates were reduced with standardized [3H]NaBH4, acid and alkaline hydrolyzed, and chromatographed in order to quantify the aldehydic crosslink precursors, and the labile reducible and nonreducible stable mature covalent intermolecular crosslinks. Reducible lung collagen crosslinks were markedly (60%) decreased in the Blo/y mice and few, if any, mature nonreducible crosslinks were present. Total aldehydes were also decreased (65%) when Blo/y was compared to +/y. In tail tendon and bone, collagen crosslinks were decreased by only 28% and 15%, respectively. Selectively severe lack of activity of the copper-dependent enzyme level oxidase in lung with only partial lack in tendon and bone could account for the results obtained. Alternatively, insufficient reducible crosslinks, coupled with increased collagen turnover in the lung could prevent formation of the more mature stable crosslinks required to provide a proper connective tissue framework for the Blo/y lung.