The minor collagens in articular cartilage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Articular cartilage is a connective tissue consisting of a specialized extracellular matrix (ECM) that dominates the bulk of its wet and dry weight. Type II collagen and aggrecan are the main ECM proteins in cartilage. However, little attention has been paid to less abundant molecular components, especially minor collagens, including type IV, VI, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, and XIV, etc. Although accounting for only a small fraction of the mature matrix, these minor collagens not only play essential structural roles in the mechanical properties, organization, and shape of articular cartilage, but also fulfil specific biological functions. Genetic studies of these minor collagens have revealed that they are associated with multiple connective tissue diseases, especially degenerative joint disease. The progressive destruction of cartilage involves the degradation of matrix constituents including these minor collagens. The generation and release of fragmented molecules could generate novel biochemical markers with the capacity to monitor disease progression, facilitate drug development and add to the existing toolbox for in vitro studies, preclinical research and clinical trials.


External organisations
  • Nordic Bioscience AS
  • University of Copenhagen
  • University of Liège
  • University of Surrey
  • Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity


  • arthritis, biomarker, collagen
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-572
JournalProtein and Cell
Issue number8
Early online date2017 Feb 17
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch

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