1. Rabbit annulus fibrosus and nucleus pulposus were analysed for hydroxyproline, chondroitin sulphate, keratan sulphate and dermatan sulphate. Tissue proteoglycans were stained for electron microscopy with Cupromeronic blue, used in the critical electrolyte concentration mode, with and without prior digestion by chondroitinase AC or ABC, hyaluronidase or keratanase. Collagen bands, a—e were demonstrated with UO2++.

  2. A chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan was found orthogonally associated with loosely packed collagen fibrils in annulus fibrosus at the d and e bands. The close metabolic and structural analogies with the dermatan sulphate proteoglycans previously shown to be located at collagen d-e bands in tendon, skin, etc. (Scott and Haigh (1985) Biosci. Rep.5:71–81), are discussed.

  3. Tightly packed annulus collagen fibrils were surrounded by axially oriented proteoglycan filaments, mostly without specific locations.

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