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Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 1995 Apr;107(4):401-10.

Glycosaminoglycan synthesis in the rat articular disk in response to mechanical stress.

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Department of Preventive Dental Science, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


The mechanism by which compressive mechanical stress affects glycosaminoglycan synthesis in the articular disk was investigated with a modified organ culture technique. Forty-eight male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into three experimental groups and one control group of 12 animals each, aged 7 and 9 weeks. The experimental groups followed different regimens of stress applied for 25%, 75%, or 100% of the time during the total test period of 24 hours. Articular disks were stressed with flexible bottomed dishes (Flex I dishes, Flexcell Corp., McKeesport, Pa.) using the Flexercell Strain Unit (Flexcell Corp., McKeesport, Pa.) and incubated with [3H]-glucosamine for 24 hours. Samples were then collected, digested with Pronase-E, and after precipitation with cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) and ethanol, the different glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) were separated by using cellulose acetate electrophoresis. The significant GAG types with stress were chondroitin6sulfate (C6S), hyaluronic acid (HA), and dermatan sulfate (DS). There was no significant relationship in the experimental groups between age and regimen of stress applied in either age. Higher stress regimens showed significantly higher proportions of C6S when compared with the controls, whereas HA appeared to decrease slightly and DS was not affected. Since C6S is the major component of hyaline cartilage, the results of this study suggest that compressive forces in the articular disk may stimulate the development of more cartilagenous-like properties with respect to GAG content.

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