Chondroitin sulphate impedes the migration of a sub-population of articular cartilage chondrocytes

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Objective: To determine whether chondroitin sulphate (CS) impedes the migration of primary articular chondrocytes. Design: Articular chondrocytes were isolated from young and skeletally mature bovine animals. Boyden chambers were used to quantify chondrocyte migration on aggrecan in the presence and absence of CS chains. A novel in vitro model of cell migration into articular cartilage explants was designed to visualise and quantify the migration of labelled chondrocytes into cartilage matrix which had been treated with chondroitinase ABC to remove CS chains present. Results: A consistent trend of increased migration with both age groups of a sub-population of chondrocytes was demonstrated on aggrecan in the absence of CS. These data were supported by results from the in vitro model of chondrocyte migration which demonstrated increasing numbers of a chondrocyte sub-population from both age groups of cartilage migrating into the chondroitinase ABC digested cartilage explants with time in culture. Minimal migration of these chondrocytes was demonstrated into phosphate buffered saline (PBS) treated control explants. Conclusions: We confirm that a sub-population of chondrocytes isolated from both young and skeletally mature articular cartilages have the ability to migrate. We also demonstrate that CS chains inhibit the migration of these articular chondrocytes and that their removal by chondroitinase ABC digestion enhances the migration of these chondrocytes. Such findings may provide a clinical application for improving cell-based cartilage repair strategies by enhancing integration between endogenous and repair tissue. © 2007 Osteoarthritis Research Society International.




Davies, L. C., Blain, E. J., Caterson, B., & Duance, V. C. (2008). Chondroitin sulphate impedes the migration of a sub-population of articular cartilage chondrocytes. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 16(8), 855–864.

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