Scanning Microscopy


In this report, we review data dealing with radiation effects on cartilage. More specifically, we emphasize on alterations caused in the extra-cellular cartilage matrix. Although radiation studies predominantly describe the effect on the structure of DNA and on the mitotic activity of cells, alterations caused by the effect on the non-mitotic activity can also be important. Cartilage, having an extracellular matrix composed of 2 major components, aggrecan and collagen, provides a good model to study this kind of radiation effects. The following topics concerning literature data are summarized: effects on the amount of matrix synthesized, effects on the activity of certain enzymes and effects on the structure and morphology of the matrix. Some new findings concerning the radiation effect on the size distribution of aggrecan-aggregate populations, de novo synthesized by chondrocyte cultures, either derived from calcifying or from non-calcifying cartilage, are given.

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