Articular Cartilage Collagen: an irreplaceable framework?
David R. Eyre, Mary Ann Weis and Jiann-Jiu Wu
University of Washington, Seattle
European Cells and Materials Vol. 12. 2006 (pages 57-63)
Adult articular cartilage by dry weight is two-thirds collagen. The collagen has a unique molecular phenotype. The nascent type II collagen fibril is a heteropolymer, with collagen IX molecules covalently linked to the surface and collagen XI forming the filamentous template of the fibril as a whole. The functions of collagens IX and XI in the heteropolymer are far from clear but, evidently, they are critically important since mutations in COLIX and COLXI genes can result in chondrodysplasia syndromes. Here we review what is known of the collagen assembly and present new evidence that collagen type III becomes covalently added to the polymeric fabric of adult human articular cartilage, perhaps as part of a matrix repair or remodelling process.
Keywords: Cartilage, collagen type III, collagen crosslinking, heterotypic fibrils, osteoarthritis