Surface-active phospholipid as the lubricating component of lubricin
AbstractTo resolve the apparent conflict between a lubricating glycoprotein, 'lubricin', as the active ingredient in synovial fluid (SF) and surface-active phospholipid (SAPL) present in SF (and adsorbed to articular cartilage) as the boundary lubricant reducing friction to such low physiological levels, lubricin was isolated from bovine SF following the original procedure of Swann et al . (Arthritis Rheum 1981;24-22-30). Analysis of the lipid extract by thin-layer chromatography and phosphorus determination demonstrated a phospholipid component of 11.1±1.7% (N=5) which corresponds very closely to the 9.2-13.0% of lubricin which had hitherto remained unidentified and which has previously been shown to be transferable to the articular surface to impart lubrication. These results would appear to resolve any theoretical conflict in that lubricin is, indeed an active ingredient within SF. Yet as a large water-soluble molecule, it really functions as a carrier for the highly insoluble SAPL which it deposits on the articular surface as the oligolamellar layer visualized in previous studies. However, it is this deposited SAPL, rather than lubricin, which actually lubricates. Key words : Joint lubrication, Lubricating glycoprotein, Lubricin, Joint phospholipid, Synovial surfactant.