This study compares the collagen types present in rabbit ear cartilage with those synthesized by dissociated chondrocytes in cell culture. The cartilage was first extracted with 4M-guanidinium chloride to remove proteoglycans. This step also extracted type I collagen. After pepsin solubilization of the residue, three additional, genetically distinct collagen types could be separated by fractional salt precipitation. On SDS (sodium dodecyl sulphate)/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis they were identified as type II collagen, (1 alpha, 2 alpha, 3 alpha) collagen and M-collagen fragments, a collagen pattern identical with that found in hyaline cartilage. Types I, II, (1 alpha, 2 alpha, 3 alpha) and M-collagen fragments represent 20, 75, 3.5, and 1% respectively of the total collagen. In frozen sections of ear cartilage, type II collagen was located by immunofluorescence staining in the extracellular matrix, whereas type I collagen was closely associated with the chondrocytes. Within 24h after release from elastic cartilage by enzymic digestion, auricular chondrocytes began to synthesize type III collagen, in addition to the above-mentioned collagens. This was shown after labelling of freshly dissociated chondrocytes with [3H]proline 1 day after plating, fractionation of the pepsin-treated collagens from medium and cell layer by NaCl precipitation, and analysis of the fractions by CM(carboxymethyl)-cellulose chromatography and SDS/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis. The 0.8 M-NaCl precipitate of cell-layer extracts consisted predominantly of type II collagen. The 0.8 M-NaCl precipitate obtained from the medium contained type I, II, and III collagen. In the supernatant of the 0.8 M-NaCl precipitation remained, both in the cell extract and medium, predominantly 1 alpha-, 2 alpha-, and 3 alpha-chains and M-collagen fragments. These results indicate that auricular chondrocytes are similar to chondrocytes from hyaline cartilage in that they produce, with the exception of type I collagen, the same collagen types in vivo, but change their cellular phenotype more rapidly after transfer to monolayer culture, as indicated by the prompt onset of type III collagen synthesis.
Analysis of collagen types synthesized by rabbit ear cartilage chondrocytes in vivo and in vitro
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K Madsen, K von der Mark, M van Menxel, U Friberg; Analysis of collagen types synthesized by rabbit ear cartilage chondrocytes in vivo and in vitro. Biochem J 1 July 1984; 221 (1): 189–196. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/bj2210189
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