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Br J Rheumatol. 1994 Dec;33(12):1107-11.

A longitudinal study of cartilage matrix metabolism in patients with cruciate ligament rupture--synovial fluid concentrations of aggrecan fragments, stromelysin-1 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.


This is the first study which quantifies aggrecan fragments, stromelysin-1 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) in SF samples prospectively obtained from the same patient at different time intervals after a cruciate ligament injury of the knee. Aggrecan fragment concentrations were determined by dye precipitation with Alcian Blue. Stromelysin-1 and TIMP-1 were analysed by immunoassay. Ten healthy volunteers formed the reference group. Immediately after knee injury, all marker concentrations were higher as compared to the reference group. The high marker concentrations decreased gradually with time, and in samples obtained between 6 months and 6 years after the injury, median concentrations of some of the markers were not different compared to reference levels. This was in contrast to results from previous cross-sectional studies, where chronic phase median concentrations of all markers were consistently higher than reference levels. In previous cross-sectional studies, however, the samples were obtained at arthroscopy done because of knee complaints at different times after a knee injury. In the present study, the knee injured patients visited the orthopaedic outpatient ward only for SF sampling, and they had no or only minor knee symptoms. We conclude that the temporal changes of marker concentrations in joint fluid after knee injury, suggested from cross-sectional studies, have now been confirmed in a longitudinal, prospective cohort study. We further find that in patients with mild knee symptoms in the chronic phase after cruciate ligament injury, median SF levels of aggrecan fragments, stromelysin-1, and TIMP-1 are lower than in patients with significant knee complaints after the same type of injury.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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