Proteoglycans are major components of the extracellular matrix. In cartilage the matrix constitutes more than 90% of tissue dry weight. Proteoglycans are proteins substituted with glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), linear polysaccharides consisting of a repeating disaccharide, generally of an acetylated amino sugar alternating
with a uronic acid. Most proteoglycans are located in the extracellular
space. Proteoglycans are highly diverse, both in terms of the core proteins and the subtypes of GAG chains, namely chondroitin sulfate (CS), keratan sulfate (KS), dermatan sulfate (DS) and heparan sulfate (HS). Hyaluronan is a non-sulfated GAG whose molecular weight runs into millions of Dalton; in articular cartilage, a single hyaluronan molecule can hold upto 100 aggrecan molecules and these aggregates are stabilized by a link protein.