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Biochem J. 1980 Jun 15;188(3):823-37.

Biosynthesis of collagen and other matrix proteins by articular cartilage in experimental osteoarthrosis.


Osteoarthrosis was induced in one knee joint of dogs by an established surgical procedure. Changes in the articular cartilage in the biosynthesis of collagen and other proteins were sought by radiochemical labelling in vivo, with the following findings. (1) Collagen synthesis was stimulated in all cartilage surfaces of the experimental joints at 2, 8 and 24 weeks after surgery. Systemic labelling with [3H]proline showed that over 10 times more collagen was being deposited per dry weight of experimental cartilage compared with control cartilage in the unoperated knee. (2) Type-II collagen was the radiolabelled product in all samples of experimental cartilage ranging in quality from undamaged to overtly fibrillated, and was the only collagen detected chemically in the matrix of osteoarthrotic cartilage from either dog or human joints. (3) Hydroxylysine glycosylation was examined in the newly synthesized cartilage collagen by labelling dog joints in vivo with [3H]lysine. In experimental knees the new collagen was less glycosylated than in controls. However, no difference in glycosylation of the total collagen in the tissues was observed by chemical analysis. (4) Over half the protein-bound tritium was extracted by 4 M-guanidinium chloride from control cartilage labelled with [3H]proline, compared with one-quarter or less from experimental cartilage. Two-thirds of the extracted tritium separated in the upper fraction on density-gradient centrifugation in CsCl under associative conditions. Much of this ran with a single protein band on sodium dodecyl sulphate/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis under reducing conditions. The identity of this protein was unknown, although it resembled serum albumin in mobility afte disulphide-bond cleavage.

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