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Physiological Function and Chemical Composition of Pericellular Proteoglycan (an Evolutionary View)

J. E. Scott
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
Vol. 271, No. 912, A Discussion on the Pericellular Environment and its Regulation in Vertebrate Tissues (Jul. 17, 1975), pp. 235-242
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2417422
Page Count: 8
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Physiological Function and Chemical Composition of Pericellular Proteoglycan (an Evolutionary View)
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Abstract

Connective tissue cells exist in a meshwork of insoluble fibres, the interstices of which are filled with soluble, high molecular mass, anionic material of a predominantly carbohydrate nature. The interactions of fibres with the interfibrillar material are central to the discussion of connective tissue physiology. As with all soluble polymers, the interfibrillar polyanion tends to 'swell' and the tangled mass of chains offers considerable resistance to penetration by the large insoluble fibres. The consequent pressure to 'inflate' the fibrous network is important in giving elasticity to cartilage, transparency to cornea, etc. Branched structures (of proteoglycans) and straight-chain forms (of hyaluronate) are compared for their ability to fulfil these functions. Apart from their physical ('non-specific') roles proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans are able to interact physicochemically with, for example, collagen in ways which show considerable specificity, and which presumably are important in the laying down of the fibrous network as well as in maintaining its mechanical integrity. It is proposed that the role played by radiation, particularly as mediated via the hydrated electron (e-aq) was dominant in the pre- and post-biotic evolution of pericellular environments.

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