Aggrecan, a major macromolecule in cartilage, protects the extracellular matrix (ECM) from degradation during the progression of osteoarthritis (OA). However, aggrecan itself is also susceptible to proteolytic cleavage. Here, the use of a biomimetic proteoglycan (mAGC) is presented, which functionally mimics aggrecan but lacks the known cleavage sites, protecting the molecule from proteolytic degradation. The objective of this study is to test the efficacy of this molecule in ex vivo (human OA synovial fluid) and in vivo (Sprague-Dawley rats) osteoarthritic models. These results indicate that mAGC's may protect articular cartilage against the loss of key ECM components, and lower catabolic protein and gene expression in both models. This suppression of matrix degradation has the potential to provide a healthy environment for tissue repair.
- Extracellular matrix
- Proteolytic enzymes