Persistent effects of a short course of intra-articular dextran sulphate, dextrans, or chondroitin sulphate were examined in rabbit knees. Only dextran sulphate produced gross arthritis, associated with high synovial acid phosphatase and beta-glucuronidase activities. Synovial degradative capacity in synovium-cartilage cocultures was increased 2-fold by dextran sulphate and 1.5-fold by chondroitin sulphate treatments. Stimulation of cartilage breakdown in vitro paralleled the content of synovial marker enzyme at death of the animal, but the 2 responses could be dissociated.
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