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Immunohistochemical study of matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) at the articular cartilage in osteochondrotic pigs

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In order to understand the mechanism of osteochondrosis in the pig, articular cartilage was taken from the distal femoral condyles of Duroc pigs exhibiting leg weakness and then examined immunohistochemically for the localization of matrix metalloproteinases-3 (MMP-3), one of the enzymes involved in the resolution of cartilage matrix. The articular cartilage had the typical characteristics of osteochondrotic lesions, such as abnormal calcification, clefts of cartilage, disappearance of proteoglycan, and necrotic chondrocytes. The immunoreaction of MMP-3 was observed in chondrocytes at the boundary between normal cartilage and proteoglycan-deficient area. Moreover, chondrocytes expressing MMP-3 showed normal morphology, but the surrounding cartilage matrix did not stain with toluidine blue, which indicated a lack of glycosaminoglycans. These results suggest that MMP-3 is highly involved in the appearance and expansion of osteochondrotic lesions.

Keywords: immunohistochemistry; leg weakness; matrix metalloproteinase-3; osteochondrosis; pig

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Graduate School of Science and Technology and 2: Faculty of Agriculture, Niigata University, Niigata-shi, Japan

Publication date: 2002-12-01

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