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J Biomech. 1987;20(6):615-27.

Cartilage electromechanics--I. Electrokinetic transduction and the effects of electrolyte pH and ionic strength.

Abstract

Articular cartilage contains a high fixed charge density under physiological conditions associated primarily with the ionized proteoglycan molecules of the extracellular matrix. Oscillatory compression of cartilage using physiological loads produces electrical potentials that have been shown previously to be the result of an electrokinetic (streaming) transduction mechanism. We have now observed two additional electromechanical phenomena not previously seen in cartilage or other soft tissues: 'streaming current' and 'current-generated stress'. Sinusoidal mechanical compression induced a sinusoidal streaming current density through cartilage disks when the Ag/AgCl electrodes that were used to compress the cartilage were shorted together externally. Conversely, a sinusoidal current density applied to the tissue generated a sinusoidal mechanical stress within the tissue. Both these phenomena were found to be consistent with the same electrokinetic transduction mechanism responsible for the streaming potential. Changes in the measured streaming potential response that resulted from modification of bath ionic strength and pH have provided additional insights into the molecular origins of these transduction processes. Finally, we have now observed streaming potentials in living cartilage maintained in organ culture, as well as in previously frozen tissue.

PMID:
3611137
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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