Rat tail tendon was stained with a cationic phthalocyanin dye, Cupromeronic Blue, in a ‘critical-electrolyte-concentration’ method [Scott (1980) Biochem. J. 187, 887-891] specifically to demonstrate proteoglycan by electron microscopy. Hyaluronidase digestion in the presence of proteinase inhibitors corroborated the results. Collagen was stained with uranyl acetate and/or phosphotungstic acid to demonstrate the banding pattern a-e in the D period. Proteoglycan was distributed about the collagen fibrils in an orthogonal array, the transverse elements of which were located almost exclusively at the d band, in the gap zone. The proteoglycan may inhibit (1) fibril radial growth by accretion of collagen molecules or fibril fusion, through interference with cross-linking, and (2) calcification by occupying the holes in the gap region later to be filled with hydroxyapatite.

This content is only available as a PDF.