The objective of this study was to examine the nucleotides of chick growth-plate cartilage and to measure the concentration of adenine nucleotides in the pre-mineralizing and mineralizing zones. Nucleotides were isolated from the two regions using a rapid-freezing technique and the concentration of individual components was ascertained by HPLC. The actual values of ATP, ADP, and other nucleotides in cartilage was low. The lowest values were recorded in the mineralized zone. In this latter zone the energy charge ratio and the ATP/ADP ratio were depressed. This was probably due to 02-related inhibition of mitochondrial oxidative activity. Additionally, the percentage of octanoate, a short-chain fatty acid that accumulates when aerobic metabolism is disturbed, was found to have increased in the calcifying zone. These findings suggest that calcification of cartilage is associated with hypoxia-related modulation of chondrocyte metabolism.

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