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Contributions of Proteoglycans to the Biotransport and Electrical Properties of Articular Cartilage: An Experimental Study

[+] Author Affiliations
Xin Gao, Chun-Yuh C. Huang, Weiyong Gu

University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

Lingtu Meng

Beijing University of Technology, Beijing, China

Paper No. SBC2013-14645, pp. V01AT16A006; 2 pages
  • ASME 2013 Summer Bioengineering Conference
  • Volume 1A: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms; Active and Reactive Soft Matter; Atherosclerosis; BioFluid Mechanics; Education; Biotransport Phenomena; Bone, Joint and Spine Mechanics; Brain Injury; Cardiac Mechanics; Cardiovascular Devices, Fluids and Imaging; Cartilage and Disc Mechanics; Cell and Tissue Engineering; Cerebral Aneurysms; Computational Biofluid Dynamics; Device Design, Human Dynamics, and Rehabilitation; Drug Delivery and Disease Treatment; Engineered Cellular Environments
  • Sunriver, Oregon, USA, June 26–29, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Bioengineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5560-7
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Proteoglycans (PGs) are one of the major components in the extracellular matrix (ECM) of cartilage, and are negatively charged due to the charged groups attached to their backbone (i.e., fixed charge groups). PGs play substantial roles in the mechanical, biotransport and electrical events within the tissue.3,7 More specifically, swelling pressure generated by the interaction between fixed charge groups and ionic interstitial fluid enhances cartilage’s capacity of load-bearing. In addition, biotransport properties (e.g., hydraulic permeability) and electrical properties (e.g., electrical conductivity) have been shown to be affected by water content (i.e., porosity) and fixed charge density (FCD).2–4 The alteration of proteoglycan content will affect the tissue FCD and water content, which could cause the changes in biomechanical, biotransport and electrical properties of the cartilage. The relationship between the PG content and biomechanical properties has been widely studied,6,8 but the knowledge on the effects of PG content on biotransport and electrical properties is limited.1 It is not clear whether the dependences of biotransport and electrical properties on PG content are mainly due to electric effects through the FCD associated with PGs or due to hindrance effects related to the effective pore size (i.e., water content) of the tissue. Therefore, the objectives of this study were (1) to investigate the effects of PG content on cartilage biotransport and electrical properties, (2) to analyze whether these effects are caused by changes of water content or FCD.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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