The in vitro sulphated glycosaminoglycan metabolism and uronate content of human aged and osteoarthrotic hip articular cartilages have been examined. Cartilages were sampled from nonfibrillated weight-bearing areas and cultured in Dulbecco Modified Eagle's medium with 35SO4. Uptake of 35SO4 was corrected for total sulphate concentration and related to uronate levels after papain digestion and dialysis. The levels of uronate in these tissues varied between 0 - 96% and 2 - 26% dry weight and did not correlate with either osteoarthrotic grading or sulphated glycosaminoglycan metabolism, irrespective of the source. Glycosaminoglycan metabolism of intact hip articular cartilage from clinically defined osteoarthrotics appears, from these results, to be comparable to that derived from nonsymptomatic hip joints from individuals of similar age. Sodium salicylate was found to depress sulphated glycosaminoglycan metabolism in osteoarthrotic cartilage.
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