The extracellular matrix of epiphyseal cartilage tissue was preserved in a state believed to resemble closely that of native tissue following processing by high pressure freezing, freeze substitution, and low temperature embedding (HPF/FS). Proteoglycans (PG) were preserved in an extended state and were apparent as a reticulum of fine filamentous threads throughout the matrix. Within this network, two morphologically discrete components were discernible and identified with the carbohydrate and protein components of PG molecules. Numerous points of contact were clearly visible between components of the PG network and cross-sectioned collagen fibrils and also between PG components and chondrocytic plasmalemmata. These observations provide direct morphological indication that such relationships may exist in native epiphyseal cartilage tissue.

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