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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2008 Dec;16(12):1494-500. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2008.04.021. Epub 2008 Jun 16.

Discovery and development of the N-terminal procollagen type II (NPII) biomarker: a tool for measuring collagen type II synthesis.

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Pfizer Global Research and Development, St Louis, MO 63017, USA.



Progression of joint damage in osteoarthritis (OA) is likely to result from an imbalance between cartilage degradation and synthesis processes. Markers reflecting these two components appear to be promising in predicting the rate of OA progression. Both N- and C-terminal propeptides of type II collagen reflect the rates of collagen type II synthesis. The ability to quantify the procollagen peptides in biological fluids would enable a better understanding of OA disease pathology and provide means for assessing the proof of mechanism of anabolic disease modifying OA drugs (DMOADs).


A polyclonal antibody that recognizes the sequence GPKGQKGEPGDIKDI in the propeptide region of rat, dog, and human type II collagen was raised in chicken and peptide-affinity purified. The immunoaffinity liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) was used to extensively characterize N-terminal procollagen type II (NPII) peptides found in biological fluids. The novel competition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) assay was developed to quantitatively measure the NPII peptides.


Several peptides ranging from 17 to 41 amino acids with various modifications including hydroxylations on proline and lysine residues, oxidation of lysines to allysines, and attachments of glucose and galactose moieties to hydroxylysines were identified in a simple system such as ex vivo cultures of human articular cartilage (HAC) explants as well as in more complex biological fluids such as human urine and plasma. A competitive ELISA assay has been developed and applied to urine, plasma, and synovial fluid matrices in human, rat and dog samples.


A novel NPII assay has been developed and applied to OA and normal human subjects to understand the changes in collagen type II synthesis related to the pathology of OA.

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