Scanning Microscopy


The concentrations of some essential elements, Na, K, P, S and Cl were determined by microprobe analysis in bovine extracellular matrices of cartilage, tendon and elastic tissue (ligamentum nuchae) and in muscle cells. The values for the different tissues were compared and related to the blood electrolyte concentrations. Among the connective tissues the highest Na and lowest Cl values were found for cartilage which bears a high negative charge. The lowest concentrations of these elements occurred in elastic tissue which is relatively non-polar. In the three extracellular matrices sodium levels exceeded potassium. In myofibers potassium was the major cation at 30 times the blood value and about 3 times the concentration of sodium. Chlorine values were around 0.4 that of blood. Sulfur and phosphorus are components of the tissue macromolecules. The negative charge on the extracellular matrices is a function of carboxyl and sulfate radicals. In the myofiber this property is largely attributable to carboxyl and phosphate groups. Differences in potassium-sodium distribution in cells and extracellular matrices are attributed partly to the microtrabecular lattice and to the ordered state of cell water. In general the element concentrations and selective distribution can be related to the chemical composition and organization of the tissue, the net immobile charge, the nature of the dispersion medium (water) and changes in its dielectric constant, and to the physico-chemical properties of the individual ions.

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