Glycosaminoglycan production, acid hydrolase activity, proliferation, and morphology were examined in human synovial cells subjected to low environmental pH. The amount and the molecular size of newly synthesised glycosaminoglycan (GAG) were increased without significant change in the rate of cell proliferation. Lowered pH produced an increase in the size of cytoplasmic organelles. Some of these possessed ultrastructural features of lysosomes, but others were clearly nonlysosomal and were of uncertain identity. Intracellular activity of the lysosomal acid hydrolase N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase (NAG) was not altered by low pH, but a marked increase occurred in extracellular NAG activity, indicating enhanced release.
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