Synovial fluid analysis of two groups of proteoglycan epitopes distinguishes early and late cartilage lesions

Arthritis Rheum. 1992 Apr;35(4):385-90. doi: 10.1002/art.1780350404.


Objective: To investigate whether fragmentation of proteoglycans in arthritis results in domains that have different levels of release from cartilage at different stages of the disease.

Methods: Two regions of the proteoglycan, the hyaluronan-binding region and the glycosaminoglycan-rich region of the core protein, were measured, by immunoassay, in knee joint synovial fluids of patients with rheumatoid arthritis or reactive arthritis.

Results: Synovial fluid concentrations of the glycosaminoglycan-rich region were highest in rheumatoid arthritis patients who had little cartilage damage as determined by radiography, whereas release of the hyaluronan-binding region predominated in patients with advanced cartilage destruction. In reactive arthritis, release of the glycosaminoglycan-rich region predominated.

Conclusion: These findings indicate that the hyaluronan-binding region is initially retained in the tissue during the development of cartilage destruction. The combined analysis of these markers offers a new avenue for assessment of the degree of cartilage damage in arthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Reactive / metabolism*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism*
  • Cartilage / metabolism*
  • Cartilage / pathology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Epitopes
  • Glycosaminoglycans / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteoglycans / immunology
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism*
  • Synovial Fluid / metabolism*
  • Time Factors


  • Epitopes
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Proteoglycans
  • Hyaluronic Acid