Characterization of articular calcium-containing crystals by synchrotron FTIR

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Objective: Sixty percent of synovial fluids from patients with severe osteoarthritis (OA) contain calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) or basic calcium phosphate (BCP) crystals. These bioactive crystals can be particularly difficult to accurately identify in complex biologic systems, such as in vitro models of crystal formation. We sought to determine if synchrotron Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (sFTIR) could be used to identify and characterize calcium-containing crystals in mineralization models. Methods: CPPD and BCP crystals from porcine models of crystal formation were examined with an FTIR Microscope attached to a synchrotron light source. As a comparison, crystals from human synovial fluids were also examined. The sFTIR spectra generated were compared with known spectra of multiple forms of BCP and CPPD crystals, as well as spectra generated by synthetic CPPD and BCP crystals and cartilage proteoglycans, alone and in mixtures. Results: sFTIR readily identified CPPD and BCP crystals in porcine models as well as in fresh synovial fluids. Brushite was also present in human and porcine samples, and whitlockite was seen in some porcine samples. Mixtures of minerals were commonly found in a single crystal aggregate in both human and porcine samples. In spectra from many CPPD crystals, the peak at the 1134 cm-1 found on the standard spectrum for CPPD was diminished. Addition of spectra from cartilage proteoglycans to those of synthetic CPPD crystals dampened the peak at this frequency region, much as this peak was diminished in biologically derived CPPD crystals. Conclusion: sFTIR analysis allows for accurate identification of CPPD and BCP crystals generated in vitro and will be a useful research tool to study articular crystals. © 2008 Osteoarthritis Research Society International.




Rosenthal, A. K., Mattson, E., Gohr, C. M., & Hirschmugl, C. J. (2008). Characterization of articular calcium-containing crystals by synchrotron FTIR. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 16(11), 1395–1402.

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