Arthritis induced immunologically with cationic amidated bovine serum albumin in the Guinea pig - A morphological and biochemical study on the destruction of articular cartilage

Naoki Yamashita, Isao Nakanishi, Yasunori Okada

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Arthritis was induced by injecting cationic amidated bovine serum albumin (aBSA) (pI ∼ 9.2) into the knee joint of immunized guinea pigs and the mechanisms of articular cartilage destruction were studied morphologically and biochemically. Marked synovitis associated with polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PML) infiltration occurred within 1 day of the challenge. Articular cartilage infiltrated by PMLs was almost completely destroyed after 2 weeks. During the initial destructive process, proteoglycans were depleted from the cartilage and later collagen fibers disappeared. Granulation tissue growing in the inflamed synovium and bone marrow replaced the destroyed cartilage and joint cavity and formed fibrous scar tissue (fibrous ankylosis) by 8 weeks. Subsequently, the knee joints developed cartilagenous ankylosis by 12 weeks and finally bony ankylosis at 28 weeks. Autoradiography using125I-aBSA and immunofluorescence studies for immunoglobulin (IgG) and complement (C3) demonstrated that the antigen is trapped in all zones of the articular cartilage and serves as a trigger for immune complex formation. Significantly increased neutral proteinase activities against substrates of proteoglycan subunits, [3H]carboxymethylated transferrin and L-pyroglutamyl-L-prolyl-L-valine-paranitroanilide were detected in homogenates of the synovium and cartilage from arthritic knee joints 1 and 2 weeks after induction. Inhibitor studies and pH curves suggested that the proteinase is leukocyte elastase. Measurable amounts of gelatinolytic activity, detected by activation with 4-aminophenylmercuric acetate and inhibited with EDTA, were also present in the same samples, but there was no detectable collagenase activity. The data on SDS-gelatin substrate gel showed that the proteinase is gelatinase derived from PMLs. These results suggest that in aBSA-induced arthritis, elastase and gelatinase from PMLs invading articular cartilage may play important roles in cartilage destruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalVirchows Archiv B Cell Pathology Including Molecular Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991 Dec 1



  • Cartilage
  • Degradation
  • Elastase
  • Experimental arthritis
  • Gelatinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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