Proteoglycan metabolism during repair of the ruptured medial collateral ligament in skeletally mature rabbits

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2000 Feb 1;374(1):35-41. doi: 10.1006/abbi.1999.1630.


The metabolism of the chondroitin/dermatan sulfate (CS/DS) proteoglycans (PGs) decorin and biglycan is markedly altered during short-term (3-6 weeks) and long-term (40 weeks-2 years) repair of surgically ruptured medial collateral ligaments from mature rabbits. A PG-rich extracellular matrix accumulates in injury gaps by 3 weeks postsurgery and extends into tissue regions containing the original ligaments, and elevated PG levels remain apparent up to 2 years postinjury. CS/DS PGs were prepared from such ligaments and identified after SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis by Alcian blue staining or immunoblotting. In normal ligaments, decorin is the most abundant proteoglycan (accounting for approximately 80% of the total); the remainder is biglycan and a large PG, possibly versican. In repairing ligaments, decorin is barely detected, but instead a large proteoglycan and abundant amounts of biglycan accumulate. Biglycan is present in two forms in repairing ligaments, and they can be separated on SDS-PAGE into 200- and 140-kDa forms. The slower migrating species is absent in normal ligaments and may represent a different glycoform (containing either a single or two short chondroitin/dermatan sulfate chains) of biglycan. Alteration in PG expression and posttranslational processing during medial collateral ligament repair are similar to those reported for repair and scar formation of other connective tissues. The accumulation of biglycan observed here may interfere with proper collagen network remodeling and may lead to persistent inflammatory and matrix turnover processes, thus preventing restoration of a long-term functional ligament tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biglycan
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Bone and Bones / physiopathology
  • Chondroitin / metabolism
  • Decorin
  • Dermatan Sulfate / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Female
  • Glycosaminoglycans / metabolism
  • Knee Joint / pathology
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries
  • Ligaments, Articular / metabolism
  • Ligaments, Articular / physiopathology
  • Medial Collateral Ligament, Knee / injuries
  • Medial Collateral Ligament, Knee / metabolism*
  • Medial Collateral Ligament, Knee / physiopathology
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism*
  • Rabbits
  • Time Factors
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Biglycan
  • Decorin
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Proteoglycans
  • Dermatan Sulfate
  • Chondroitin