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In vitro evidence for a Donnan distribution of Mg2+ and Ca2+ by chondroitin sulphate in cartilage

T Günther, M Rücker, C Förster, J Vormann, R Stahlmann
Archives of Toxicology 1997, 71 (7): 471-5
Fluoroquinolones are known for their ability to form chelate complexes with magnesium. Cartilage lesions observed in juvenile animals after quinolone treatment very probably are a consequence of the lack of functionally available magnesium. In cartilage, which contains high amounts of negatively charged proteoglycans, a Donnan distribution can be expected leading to an inhomogeneous distribution of ions (such as magnesium), which may support the toxic effects of magnesium deficiency or quinolone treatment of cartilage. We performed in vitro experiments using dialysis tubes to simulate the unequal distribution of proteoglycans in cartilage and measured the distribution of magnesium, calcium and ofloxacin. We found that the concentration of free magnesium is significantly reduced with the chondroitin sulphate-free solution due to a Donnan effect. For example, using a 3% chondroitin sulphate solution (outside the tubing) dialysed against a chondroitin sulphate-free solution (inside the tubing) the magnesium concentration decreased by 24% from 0.55 +/- 0.02 to 0.42 +/- 0.04 mmol/l inside the tubing during 48 h observation (P < 0.01). Under physiological conditions this unequal distribution of magnesium probably will be much more pronounced because chondroitin sulphate concentrations in cartilage are higher; nevertheless, magnesium concentration is sufficient for regular function of the tissue. During the sensitive phase of quinolone toxicity, magnesium in juvenile cartilage is lower than at other time points during postnatal development. Moreover, additional complexation by quinolones may further reduce the concentration of functionally available magnesium below the critical level.


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