The role of protein content on the steady and oscillatory shear rheology of model synovial fluids
Recent studies have debated the role of protein content on the bulk rheology of synovial fluid; in particular, it has been questioned if proteins aggregate or interact with hyaluronic acid in synovial fluid to enhance bulk rheology, or if observed effects were due to systematic measurement error caused by interfacial rheology, stemming from protein adsorption to the interface. Utilizing several techniques to ensure results reflect only bulk rheology, an examination of the role of bovine serum albumin and γ-globulin on model synovial fluid rheology has been undertaken. When interfacial rheology caused by protein adsorption to the interface is abrogated, the bulk rheology of a model synovial fluid composed of bovine serum albumin, γ-globulin, and hyaluronic acid is found to be dominated solely by the hyaluronic acid over a wide range of shear rates, strains and frequencies. These results show that the previously reported enhanced rheological properties of model synovial fluids are solely due to interfacial rheology and not from any type of protein aggregation/interaction in bulk solution.