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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2005 Mar;13(3):258-65.

New serum biochemical markers (Coll 2-1 and Coll 2-1 NO2) for studying oxidative-related type II collagen network degradation in patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • 1Bone and Cartilage Research Unit, University of Liège, Sart Tilman, 4000 Liège, Belgium.



Protein nitration is a prominent feature of inflammatory processes in the joint. We have developed immunoassays specific for a peptide of the alpha-helical region of type II collagen 108HRGYPGLDG116 (Coll 2-1) and its nitrated form 108HRGY(NO2)PGLDG116 (Coll 2-1 NO2) in biological fluids.


Coll 2-1 and Coll 2-1 NO2 peptides were injected into rabbits. Two antisera (D3 and D37) were selected for their specificity and affinity and used to develop specific immunoassays. Coll 2-1 and Coll 2-1 NO2 were measured in sera of 242 healthy subjects (N), 67 patients with primary knee osteoarthritis (OA) and 19 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).


In healthy subjects, Coll 2-1 and Coll 2-1 NO2 concentrations were 125.13+/-3.71 nM and 0.16+/-0.08 nM, respectively. In OA and RA, Coll 2-1 and Coll 2-1 NO2 serum levels were found to be significantly increased compared to controls of the same range of age (Coll 2-1: OA: 200.80+/-8.98 nM, RA: 172.30+/-19.05 nM, normal: 126.60+/-6.70 nM and Coll 2-1 NO2: OA: 0.26+/-0.02, RA: 0.38+/-0.05, normal: 0.12+/-0.01 nM). Coll 2-1 NO2 levels were significantly more elevated in RA than in OA patients (P<0.05). As a consequence, the ratio Coll 2-1 NO2/Coll 2-1 was 1.6 times higher in RA than in OA subjects. No relationship was found between the radiological OA severity and the levels of Coll 2-1 and Coll 2-1 NO2 in serum. Coll 2-1 NO2, but not Coll 2-1, was correlated with C-reactive protein in the sera of OA and RA patients.


The determination of both Coll 2-1 and Coll 2-1 NO2 in serum of arthritic patients seems to be a promising useful tool for the detection of oxidative-related cartilage degradation episode. Further, these markers could be helpful for monitoring the effects of anti-inflammatory or antioxidant drugs on cartilage degradation.

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