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Connect Tissue Res. 2012;53(2):169-79. doi: 10.3109/03008207.2011.620190. Epub 2011 Dec 7.

β-D-xylosides stimulate GAG synthesis in chondrocyte cultures due to elevation of the extracellular GAG domains, accompanied by the depletion of the intra-pericellular GAG pools, with alterations in the GAG profiles.

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Department of Nephrology, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel.


The familial disease of hereditary multiple exostoses is characterized by abnormal skeletal deformities requiring extensive surgical procedures. In hereditary multiple exostoses patients there is a shortage in the pericellular glycosaminoglycan (GAG) of heparan sulfate (HS), related to defective activity of HS glycosyltransferases, mainly in the pericellular regions of chondrocytes. This study searched for a novel approach employing xylosides with different aglycone groups priming a variety of GAG chains, in attempting to alter the GAG compositional profile. Cell cultures of patients with osteochondroma responded to p-nitrophenyl β-D-xyloside by a significant increase in total GAG synthesis, expressed mainly in the extracellular domains, limited to chondroitin sulfate). The different β-D-xylosides, in addition to increasing the synthesis of extracellular GAGs, led to a significant depletion of the intracellular GAG domains. In mouse chondrocyte cultures, β-D-xylosides with different aglycones created a unique distribution of the GAG pools. Of special interest was the finding that the naphthalene methanol β-D-xyloside showed the highest absolute levels of HS-GAGs in both extracellular and intra-pericellular moieties compared with other β-D-xylosides and with controls without xyloside. In summary, β-D-xylosides can be utilized in chondrocyte cultures to modify the distribution of GAGs between the extracellular and intracellular compartments. In addition, xylosides may alter the profile of specific GAG chains in each moiety.

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