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Bicarbonate-dependent pH(i) regulation by chondrocytes within the superficial zone of bovine articular cartilage


, : Bicarbonate-dependent pH(i) regulation by chondrocytes within the superficial zone of bovine articular cartilage. Journal of Cellular Physiology 212(3): 600-609

Control of chondrocyte pH (pH(i)) determines articular cartilage matrix metabolism. However, the transporters of chondrocytes in situ throughout cartilage zones are unclear, and we tested the hypothesis that chondocytes within the superficial zone (SZ) utilise a HCO(3) (-)-dependent system absent from other zones. Imaging of single BCECF-labelled cells was used to monitor the pH(i) of in situ chondrocytes within the cartilage zones, and also that of cells isolated from the SZ or full depth (FD) explants. Resting pH(i) and intrinsic buffering power (beta(i)) in HEPES-buffered saline was not different between SZ and DZ cells, however the pH(i) of SZ chondrocytes was lower in HCO(3) (-) saline. Ammonium pre-pulse was used to acid-load cells and pH(i) recovery by in situ or isolated SZ chondrocytes shown to be totally dependent on HCO(3) (-). pH(i) recovery rate was significantly (P < 0.05) greater for in situ cells, suggesting that isolation damaged the HCO(3) (-)-dependent system. Recovery of pH(i) by in situ cells was blocked by the anion transport inhibitor DIDS, and partially inhibited by EIPA probably non-specifically. Recovery of pH(i) by acidified MZ or DZ cells or those isolated from FD explants was not affected by HCO(3) (-) (P > 0.05). Na(+)-dependent HCO(3) (-)-(NBC) transporters were identified in SZ chondrocytes by fluorescence immunohistochemistry suggesting that this system might account for the HCO(3) (-)-dependent recovery of pH(i). Bovine articular cartilage chondrocytes possess a HCO(3) (-)-dependent transporter which plays a key role in pH(i) regulation in cells in the SZ, but not in chondrocytes within deeper cartilage zones.

US$19.90

PMID: 17458896

DOI: 10.1002/jcp.21054


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