Adaptive cellular response to osmotic stress in pig articular chondrocytes

Paolo Borghetti, Leonardo Della Salda, Elena De Angelis, Maria Cristina Maltarello, Pier Giorgio Petronini, Enrico Cabassi, Paolo Stefano Marcato, Nadir Mario Maraldi, Angelo F. Borghetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors studied the effects of a wide range of medium osmolarities (from 0.28 osM (physiological osmolarity of plasma and synovial fluid) to 0.58 osM) by altering Na+ concentration in high density cultures of pig articular chondrocytes in order to analyze the behaviour of some functional and structural parameters during cell adaptation to these imposed changes in the ionic environment. Biochemical and morphological results indicated that, even if isolated from the tissue matrix and cultured in vitro, chondrocytes maintained active osmoregulation systems which are present in living conditions. They showed a similar biochemical and morphological behavior when cultured at 0.28 osM and 0.38 osM but they were able, with regard to protein synthesis, aminoacid transport and proliferation rates, to respond quickly and to adapt to 0.48 osM medium as well. On the contrary, the treatment at the highest osmolarity (0.58 osM) early altered these biochemical parameters and was detrimental or even gave rise to lethal damage during long-term treatment. Furthermore, while chondrocytes cultured in 0.28-0.38 osM medium maintained phenotypic characteristics in culture, the higher osmolarities (0.48-0.58 osM) caused morphological changes in cell populations resulting in loss of phenotypic cell stability as demonstrated by their taking on a fibroblast-like shape as well as a lack of ability to assembly matrix proteoglycans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-183
Number of pages11
JournalTissue and Cell
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Articular chondrocytes
  • cell culture
  • osmotic stress
  • pig

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Insect Science


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