• Proteoglycan;
  • Decorin;
  • Biglycan;
  • Human meniscus


The dermatan sulfate proteoglycans decorin and biglycan were extracted from pooled adult human menisci with 4 M guanidinium chloride and purified by successive cesium chloride density gradient centrifugation, ion exchange chromatography, and gel filtration. A final yield of about 2 mg of dermatan sulfate proteoglycan per gram of wet tissue was obtained. The proteoglycan is predominantly decorin with some biglycan, and the dermatan sulfate chains contain about 70% of their uronic acid residues as iduronate and possess about three times as much 4-sulfation as 6-sulfation of their N-acetylgalactosamine residues. On gel filtration under associative conditions, about half of the proteoglycan exhibits self-association. This includes most of the biglycan but also a substantial proportion of decorin. The molecules that show self-association appear to have longer dermatan sulfate chains, though there is no apparent difference in their overall composition. The predominance of decorin in the adult meniscus and its ability to interact both with itself and collagen fibrils is compatible with a role in maintaining tissue integrity and strength.