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Differential expression of proteoglycan epitopes by ovine intervertebral disc cells

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 October 2000


JAMES MELROSE
Affiliation:
Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney (Dept of Surgery), St Leonards, NSW, Australia
SUSAN SMITH
Affiliation:
Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney (Dept of Surgery), St Leonards, NSW, Australia
PETER GHOSH
Affiliation:
Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney (Dept of Surgery), St Leonards, NSW, Australia

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Abstract

The alginate bead culture system has been utilised by several groups to examine the in vitro proteoglycan (PG) metabolism of chondrocytes and intervertebral disc cells, but the nature of the PGs produced has not been examined in detail. This is largely due to the difficulty of separating the anionically charged sodium alginate support matrix from PGs which are similarly charged. In the present study ovine annulus fibrosus, transitional zone and nucleus pulposus cells were dissociated enzymatically from their respective matrices by sequential digestion with pronase/clostridial collagenase and DNAase and then cultured in alginate beads for 10 d. The beads were solubilised and subjected to DEAE Sepharose CL6B anion exchange chromatography to separate the sodium alginate bead support matrix material quantitatively from the disc cell PGs. The alginate free bead PGs were then subjected to composite agarose polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis to resolve PG populations and the PGs were transferred to nitrocellulose membranes by semidry electroblotting. The PGs were identified by probing the blots with a panel of antibodies to defined PG core protein and glycosaminoglycan side chain epitopes. Alginate beads of disc cells were also embedded in paraffin wax and 4μm sections cut to immunolocalise decorin, biglycan, versican, and the 7-D-4 PG epitope within the beads. Decorin and biglycan had similar distributions in the beads, being localised on the cell surface whereas versican and the 7-D-4 PG epitope were immunolocalised interterritoriarly. This study is the first to demonstrate that ovine disc cells synthesise versican in alginate bead culture. Furthermore the immunoblotting studies also showed that a proportion of the 7-D-4 PG epitope was colocalised with versican.


Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 2000

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