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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2005 Jan;13(1):34-8.

Serum concentration of cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) is sensitive to physiological cyclic loading in healthy adults.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.



To test the hypothesis that physiological cyclic loading during a 30-min walking exercise causes an increase in serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) concentration in a healthy population.


Blood samples (5 ml) were drawn from 10 physically active adults immediately before and after, and 0.5h, 1.5h, 3.5h and 5.5h after a 30-min walking exercise on a level outdoor walking track at self-selected normal speed. On a separate day, blood samples were drawn from the same 10 subjects during 6h while they were resting in a chair. Serum COMP concentrations were determined using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (COMP ELISA). An activity monitor was used to record basic time-distance measurements of gait. Serum COMP concentrations within the exercise protocol and within the resting protocol were compared using separate repeated measures analyses of variance (alpha=0.05).


In the exercise protocol, a first increase (9.7%; P=0.003) occurred immediately after the walking exercise. A second increase in serum COMP concentration (7.0%; P=0.024) occurred 5.5h after the walking exercise. In the resting protocol, the concentration at baseline was significantly higher than at all subsequent time points (8.2%; P<0.050). Serum COMP concentration decreased from the 3.5-h to the 5.5-h sample (-4.8%; P=0.012).


Even a moderate walking activity can significantly influence serum COMP concentration. The immediate response points to a diffusion time of COMP fragments from cartilage to the blood of 30 min or less. The response at 5.5h indicates a metabolic delay for COMP in the range of 5h to 6h.

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