Chondroitin sulfates (CS) account for more than 80% of the glycosaminoglycans of articular cartilage, which impart its physiological functions. We quantified the absolute concentration of the CS components of the full thickness cartilages from the knees of patients with terminal-phase osteoarthritis. Osteochondrol biopsies were removed from the medial femoral condyle and lateral femoral condyle of sixty female patients received total knee arthroplasty, aged from 58 to 83 years old. We found the total CS concentrations and chondroitin-4-sulfate disaccharide were significantly lowered in osteoarthritic samples. Microstructure analysis indicated while chondroitin-0-sulfate was equally distributed across different zones of the osteoarthritic cartilages, chondroitin-4-sulfate is significantly less in the deep zones. Down-regulation of sulfotransferases, the enzymes responsible for CS sulfation, in the lesion site of cartilage were observed. Our study suggested chondroitin-4-sulfate down-regulation can be a diagnostic marker for degraded osteoarthritis cartilage, with potential implications in cartilage regeneration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas