Cartilage proteoglycan depletion in acute and chronic antigen-induced arthritis.

Arthritis and Rheumatism
E R PettipherA Ratcliffe


We examined the kinetics of proteoglycan (PG) depletion in rabbits with antigen-induced arthritis. There was a rapid loss of PG from arthritic cartilage, reaching 35-40% at day 7. Thereafter, the rate of PG depletion declined, and by day 42, the maximum loss was 55-60%. The initial loss of PG was accompanied by the appearance of large amounts of sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in the joint fluid (measured as total sulfated GAGs by dye binding and as keratan sulfate by radioimmunoassay). However, by day 14, the levels of sulfated GAGs in arthritic joint fluid declined to control levels, even though the cartilage demonstrated a sustained depletion of PG. The cartilage PG degradation observed in antigen-induced arthritis could also be produced in normal animals by a single intraarticular injection of recombinant interleukin-1. The acute loss of cartilage PG occurred independently of neutrophil accumulation, both in the case of antigen-induced arthritis and after injection of interleukin-1.


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