Scanning Microscopy


The kinetics of calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) crystal growth was studied by allowing calcium and pyrophosphate (PPi-4) ions to diffuse through a denatured collagen matrix (biological grade gelatin) in the presence of either ferric or ferrous ions. Ferric and, to some extent, ferrous ions blocked the migration of the PPi-4 diffusion gradient. This retardation in the [PPi-4] gradient led to numerous changes in the patterns of CPPD crystal formation. At the initial stages of crystal growth, the iron ions induced more crystal growth compared to control. At later incubation times, ferrous and ferric ions enhanced crystal growth at the expense of crystal nucleation. The presence of both ferrous and ferric ions resulted in the more rapid formation of the two crystals observed in vivo, triclinic CPPD and monoclinic CPPD. Further, both ferrous and ferric ions also reduced the solubility of the crystalline material in the broad diffuse band which formed when the Ca+2 and PPi-4 gradients first met. In this system, the presence of either ferrous or ferric ions increased the amount of hydroxyproline included in the crystalline precipitates. Iron was also incorporated into the crystals, particularly into the triclinic CPPD and monoclinic CPPD crystals.

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