Extracellular Distribution of Collagen II and Perifibrillar Adapter Proteins in Healthy and Osteoarthritic Human Knee Joint Cartilage

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Perifibrillar adapter proteins, interconnecting collagen fibrils, and linking the collagen network with the aggrecan matrix seem to play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis (OA). Therefore, we examined immunohistochemically the extracellular distribution of collagen II and the main perifibrillar adapter proteins-collagen IX, decorin, cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP), and matrilin-3-in human samples of healthy (n=4) and OA (n=42) knee joint cartilage. Histopathology assessment was performed using an OA score. Staining patterns were evaluated in relation to the disease stage. The perifibrillar adapter proteins were uniformly distributed in the upper zones of healthy cartilage. In moderate OA (n=8; score 14.3 ± 4.7), all proteins analyzed were locally absent in the fibrillated area or the superficial and upper mid zone. In advanced OA (n=20; score 18.9 ± 5.3), they were uniformly distributed in these zones and accumulated pericellularly. Perifibrillar adapter proteins are important for the stabilization of the collagen network in the upper zones of healthy cartilage. Their degradation might be a critical event in early OA. In advanced OA, there are indications for an increased synthesis in an attempt to regenerate the lost tissue and to protect the remaining cartilage from further destruction.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe journal of histochemistry and cytochemistry : official journal of the Histochemistry Society
Volume65
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)593-606
Number of pages14
ISSN0022-1554
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10.2017

ID: 3123061

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