The anti-inflammatory drugs, sodium salicylate, indomethacin, hydrocortisone, ibuprofen, and flurbiprofen, were examined for their effects on sulphated glycosaminoglycan synthesis in aged human cartilage in vitro. Cartilage was obtained from femoral heads removed during surgery and drug effects were found to vary significantly from one head to another. Statistical analysis of the results showed that sodium salicylate exhibits concentration-dependent inhibition of glycosaminoglycan synthesis over the concentration range used. Indomethacin, hydrocortisone, and ibuprofen, at concentrations comparable to those attained in man, caused a statistically significant depression of sulphated glycosaminoglycan synthesis in cartilage from some femoral heads but not others, reflecting the variable response of human articular cartilage to anti-inflammatory drugs. Sodium salicylate and indomethacin at higher doses produced significant (Pless than 0-005) inhibition of sulphated glycosaminoglycan synthesis in all femoral heads studied. The results for flurbiprofen were less conclusive; this compound appears not to inhibit glycosaminoglycan synthesis over the concentration range used.
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