Applied Magnetic Resonance

, 27:471 | Cite as

Dynamics of the biopolymers in articular cartilage studied by magic angle spinning NMR

  • D. Huster
  • L. Naji
  • J. Schiller
  • K. Arnold


To understand the viscoelastic properties of cartilage tissue and for the development of tissue-engineered cartilage, we have studied the physicochemical properties of bovine nasal and pig articular cartilage by13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods. The major macromolecular components of cartilage can be investigated individually by applying13C high-resolution (HR) NMR with scalar decoupling (for the polysaccharide component) and solid-state NMR with dipolar decoupling (for the collagen component). Partially resolved NMR spectra of the cartilage polysaccharides can be obtained by HR13C NMR indicating that these polysaccharides are highly mobile. Resonance lines have been assigned to chondroitin sulfate, the most mobile component of cartilage. To characterize time scales of molecular motions, we have measuredT 1 andT 2 relaxation times as a function of temperature and analyzed these data by means of a broad distribution of molecular correlation times. Typical correlation times for the large amplitude motions of chondroitin sulfate are of the order of 0.1–10 ns. For the detection and dynamical characterization of the cartilage collagen cross-polarization magic angle spinning (CP MAS) and high-power decoupling are indispensable.13C CP MAS spectra of cartilage are dominated by resonances from rigid collagen, while only low-intensity signals from the polysaccharides are observed. The good sensitivity at a magnetic field strength of 17.6 T allows the site-specific investigation of cartilage collagen dynamics by two-dimensional NMR methods. The cartilage collagen is essentially rigid with low-amplitude segmental motions on the fast time scale. Considering the high water content of cartilage and the almost isotropic mobility of the chondroitin sulfate molecules it is remarkable how little this affects the collagen dynamics. The dynamics of cartilage macromolecules is broadly distributed from almost completely rigid to highly mobile, which lends cartilage its mechanical strength and shock-absorbing properties.


Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Chondroitin Sulfate Cartilage Tissue Dipolar Coupling Magic Angle Spin 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Junior Research Group “Solid-State NMR Studies of the Structure of Membrane-associated Proteins”, Biotechnological-Biomedical CenterUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Medical Physics and BiophysicsUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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