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Normal and shear interactions between hyaluronan-aggrecan complexes mimicking possible boundary lubricants in articular cartilage in synovial joints.

ABSTRACT: Using a surface force balance, normal and shear interactions have been measured between two atomically smooth surfaces coated with hyaluronan (HA), and with HA/aggrecan (Agg) complexes stabilized by cartilage link protein (LP). Such HA/Agg/LP complexes are the most abundant mobile macromolecular species permeating articular cartilage in synovial joints and have been conjectured to be present as boundary lubricants at its surface. The aim of the present study is to gain insight into the extremely efficient lubrication when two cartilage surfaces slide past each other in healthy joints, and in particular to elucidate the possible role in this of the HA/Agg/LP complexes. Within the range of our parameters, our results reveal that the HA/Agg/LP macromolecular surface complexes are much better boundary lubricants than HA alone, likely because of the higher level of hydration, due to the higher charge density, of the HA/Agg/LP layers with respect to the HA alone. However, the friction coefficients (?) associated with the mutual interactions and sliding of opposing HA/Agg/LP layers (? ? 0.01 up to pressure P of ca. 12 atm, increasing sharply at higher P) suggest that such complexes by themselves cannot account for the remarkable boundary lubrication observed in mammalian joints (up to P > 50 atm).


PROVIDER: S-EPMC3497856 | BioStudies | 2012-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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