Rheumatology International

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 71–75 | Cite as

Toxicity of complement for chondrocytes. A possible source of cartilage degradation in inflammatory arthritis

  • S. Satsuma
  • R. A. Scudamore
  • T. D. V. Cooke
  • W. P. Aston
  • R. Saura


Cartilage from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and from animals with antigen-induced arthritis is frequently contaminated with complement-containing immune complexes. A possible role for complement activation in cartilage degradation was modeled in vitro by exposing cultured bovine chondrocytes to homologous serum, and determining cytotoxicity by monitoring the release of intracellular 51Cr. Complement activation was found to be cytotoxic, having maximal effect at 20–30% serum by 18 h. Serum toxicity was ablated by heat (50°C, 20 min) or methylamine treatment but not by EGTA, suggesting that in these experiments activation occurred by the alternate route. The implications of the results are discussed in relation to ultrastructural evidence for the involvement of complement in the pathogenesis of cartilage degradation in inflammatory arthritis.

Key words

Chondrocyte Immune complex Cartilage Degradation Complement Cytotoxicity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Satsuma
    • 1
  • R. A. Scudamore
    • 1
  • T. D. V. Cooke
    • 1
  • W. P. Aston
    • 2
  • R. Saura
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada

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