Permeability of composite chondrocyte-culture-millipore membranes to solutes of varying size and shape Academic Article uri icon


  • A model connective-tissue system was developed that is amenable to the determination of permeability coefficients of diffusing solutes. The system involves the culture of 13-day chick-embryo chondrocytes on a Millipore filter (HA:0.45 micron pore size) to form what is, in effect, a confluent, extremely thin cartilage slice of uniform thickness. These cultured chondrocyte membranes were used to measure the steady-state flux of radioactively labelled low-molecular-weight solutes and micro-ions. Similarly, the permeability coefficients of either radioactively labelled or enzymically active proteins across the membranes were determined. The membrane was found to have no marked effects on the diffusional behaviour of low-molecular-weight non-electrolytes (water, proline, ribose, glucose, sorbitol, raffinose). For micro-ions (Na+, SO42-, Cl-, glutamate, glucuronate,), the diffusive behaviour was found to be markedly affected by the ionic strength of the solvent used in a manner which was consistent with a Donnan distribution resulting from the immobilized proteoglycans. Globular proteins permeated the membrane at rates which decreased as the molecular size of the diffusing solute increased. The apparent diffusion rates of fibrinogen and of collagen through the membranes were greater than would be expected on the basis of their diffusion coefficients in free solution. Reasons for this behaviour are discussed.

publication date

  • August 1, 1979