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Review

Articular cartilage and changes in Arthritis: Matrix degradation

John S Mort* and Caron J Billington

Author Affiliations

Joint Diseases Laboratory, Shriners Hospital for Children, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Departments of Surgery and Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Arthritis Res 2001, 3:337-341  doi:10.1186/ar325

Published: 6 September 2001

Abstract

While many proteases in articular cartilage have been described, current studies indicate that members of two families of metalloproteases – MMPs and the ADAMTSs – are responsible for the degradation of the major components of this tissue. Collagenases (MMPs) make the first cleavage in triple-helical collagen, allowing its further degradation by other proteases. Aggrecanases (ADAMTSs), in conjunction with other MMPs, degrade aggrecan, a component of the proteoglycan aggregate. Anti-neoepitope antibodies that recognize the cleavage products of collagen and aggrecan generated by these enzymes are now available and are being used to detect the sites of action and to quantitate degradation products.

Keywords:
aggrecanase; collagenase; neoepitope; protease; protease inhibitor