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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1976 Feb;58(1):94-101.

Biochemical changes in the cartilage of the knee in experimental and natural osteoarthritis in the dog.


Biochemical changes in the articular cartilage of the knees of mature dogs, one with natural and four with surgically induced osteoarthritis, have been investigated. The four dogs were killed three, six, nine and forty-eight weeks after division of the right anterior cruciate ligament, the left knees serving as controls. The cartilage of the joints operated on was thicker and more hydrated than the control cartilage; the proteoglycans were more easily extracted and had higher galactosamine/glucosamine molar ratios. The proportion of proteoglycans firmly associated with collagen, and hence not extractable, diminished before fibrillation was demonstrable by indian ink staining of the surface. These biochemical changes were present throughout the entire cartilage of the joints operated on of the dogs killed more than three weeks later, and of the dog with natural osteoarthritis. The results suggest that in response to altered mechanical stresses the chondrocytes synthesise proteoglycans that contain more chondroitin sulphate relative to keratin sulphate than normally, as in immature articular cartilage.

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