Micro Proton Induced X-ray Emission (mu-PIXE) analysis has been employed herein in investigating and quantifying the distribution of a number of essential elements in thin human diseased articular cartilage sections affected by osteoarthritis (OA). Various cations Ca, P and Zn have been reported to play an important role both in the normal growth and remodelling of articular cartilage and subchondral bone as well as in the degenerative and inflammatory processes associated with the disease; they act as co-factors of a class of enzymes known as metalloproteinases which are believed to be active during the initiation, progress and remodelling processes associated with osteoarthritis. Other important enzymes such as alkaline phosphatase are associated with cartilage mineralization. Synchrotron radiation X-ray fluorescence (SR-XRF) for mapping of elemental distributions in bone and cartilage has also been employed by the present group and others. In the current investigations using the cSAXS beamline at the Swiss light source, Small-Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) was carried out on decalcified human articular cartilage to explore the structural and organizational changes of collagen networks in diseased articular cartilage. (c) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.