South African Medical Journal

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An ultracentrifugal analysis of synovial fluid

M.B.E. Sweet


Synovial effusions aspirated from patients with rheumatoid disease or osteoarthritis or following trauma have been fractionated by equilibrium sedimentation in caesium chloride density gradients. The relative concentrations of hyaluronate and chondroitin sulphate have been quantitated and compared to the respective concentrations of these substances in normal ox synovial fluid. Chondroitin sulphate concentration was significantly raised in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis; there was a less marked drop in hyaluronate concentration. Cartilage damage appears to be associated with high concentrations of chondroitin sulphate in the synovial fluid.

AJOL African Journals Online