, Volume 55, Issue 10, pp 1327-1340

Noncollagenous, nonproteoglycan macromolecules of cartilage

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Extracellular matrix comprises approximately 90% of cartilage, with collagens and proteoglycans making up the bulk of the tissue. In recent years, several abundant cartilage proteins that are neither collagens nor proteoglycans have been characterized in detail. The putative roles of these proteins range from involvement in matrix organization or matrix-cell signaling (PRELP, chondroadherin, cartilage oligomeric protein and cartilage matrix protein) through to molecules that are likely to be involved with modulation of the chondrocyte phenotype (CD-RAP, CDMPs, chondromodulin and pleiotrophin). Other molecules, such as the cartilage-derived C-type lectin and cartilage intermediate layer protein have no role as yet. Due to the difficulties associated with experimentally manipulating a tissue that is 90% extracellular matrix in a manner that can be readily transferred to the whole organism, many of these molecules have been focused on by a surprisingly small number of researchers. This review focuses on newly discovered proteins and glycoproteins in cartilage, with a bias towards those that have structural roles or that are unique to cartilage.

Received 7 January 1999; accepted 11 March 1999