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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Influence of intermittent compressive force on proteoglycan content in calcifying growth plate cartilage in vitro.

We investigated the effect of mechanical stimulation by an intermittent compressive force (ICF) on proteoglycan (PG) synthesis and PG structure in calcified and noncalcified cartilage of fetal mouse long bone rudiments. Uncalcified cartilaginous long bone rudiments were cultured for 5 days in the presence of [35S]sulfate and [3H]glucosamine under control conditions (atmospheric pressure) or under the influence of ICF. ICF was generated by intermittently compressing the gas phase above the culture medium (130 mbar, 0.3 Hz). During culture, the center of the rudiments started to calcify. ICF stimulated calcification such that, after 5 days, the diaphysis of calcified cartilage was about two times as long as in the control cultures. At the end of the experiment, the rudiments were divided in a central calcified diaphysis and two noncalcified epiphyses. Diaphysis and epiphyses were pooled separately. PGs were extracted with 4 M guanidinium chloride and isolated by cesium chloride density gradient centrifugation. PGs (predigested with proteinase K or chondroitinase ABC) were characterized for hydrodynamic size of aggregates, monomers, and chondroitin sulfate chains by gel permeation chromatography and for degree of sulfation by ion exchange chromatography on high pressure liquid chromatography columns. ICF increased the amount of incorporated sulfate per tissue volume unit in the noncalcified epiphyses, but decreased this parameter in the calcified diaphysis. However, in both calcified and noncalcified cartilage, ICF increased the degree of sulfation of the chondroitin sulfate chains. No effects were found on the hydrodynamic size of the PG aggregates or monomers, but in the epiphyses ICF increased the size of the chondroitin sulfate chains. No other changes of structural characteristics of the macromolecules were observed. This study demonstrates that ICF generally stimulated the incorporation of [35S]sulfate into chondroitin sulfate chains. We conclude from the lowered [35S]sulfate content in calcified cartilage that ICF reduced the number of chondroitin sulfate chains and probably PGs while accelerating matrix calcification. It seems likely that the two effects are linked, indicating that a reduction of the number of chondroitin sulfate chains is part of the complicated process of cartilage calcification.[1]


  1. Influence of intermittent compressive force on proteoglycan content in calcifying growth plate cartilage in vitro. Klein-Nulend, J., Veldhuijzen, J.P., van de Stadt, R.J., van Kampen, G.P., Kuijer, R., Burger, E.H. J. Biol. Chem. (1987) [Pubmed]
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