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1.  Metalloproteinase and inhibitor expression profiling of resorbing cartilage reveals pro-collagenase activation as a critical step for collagenolysis 
Excess proteolysis of the extracellular matrix (ECM) of articular cartilage is a key characteristic of arthritis. The main enzymes involved belong to the metalloproteinase family, specifically the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and a group of proteinases with a disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS). Chondrocytes are the only cell type embedded in the cartilage ECM, and cell-matrix interactions can influence gene expression and cell behaviour. Thus, although the use of monolayer cultures can be informative, it is essential to study chondrocytes encapsulated within their native environment, cartilage, to fully assess cellular responses. The aim of this study was to profile the temporal gene expression of metalloproteinases and their endogenous inhibitors, the tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs), reversion-inducing cysteine-rich protein with Kazal motifs (RECK), and α2-macroglobulin (α2M), in actively resorbing cartilage. The addition of the pro-inflammatory cytokine combination of interleukin-1 (IL-1) + oncostatin M (OSM) to bovine nasal cartilage induces the synthesis and subsequent activation of pro-metalloproteinases, leading to cartilage resorption. We show that IL-1+OSM upregulated the expression of MMP-1, -2, -3, -9, 12, -13, -14, TIMP-1, and ADAMTS-4, -5, and -9. Differences in basal expression and the magnitude of induction were observed, whilst there was no significant modulation of TIMP-2, -3, RECK, or ADAMTS-15 gene expression. IL-1+OSM downregulated MMP-16,TIMP-4, and α2M expression. All IL-1+OSM-induced metalloproteinases showed marked upregulation early in the culture period, whilst inhibitor expression was reduced throughout the stimulation period such that metalloproteinase production would be in excess of inhibitors. Moreover, although pro-collagenases were upregulated and synthesized early (by day 5), collagenolysis became apparent later with the presence of active collagenases (day 10) when inhibitor levels were low. These findings indicate that the activation cascades for pro-collagenases are delayed relative to collagenase expression, further confirm the coordinated regulation of metalloproteinases in actively resorbing cartilage, and support the use of bovine nasal cartilage as a model system to study the mechanisms that promote cartilage degradation.
PMCID: PMC1779431  PMID: 16919164
2.  Rat tail static compression model mimics extracellular matrix metabolic imbalances of matrix metalloproteinases, aggrecanases, and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases in intervertebral disc degeneration 
The longitudinal degradation mechanism of extracellular matrix (ECM) in the interbertebral disc remains unclear. Our objective was to elucidate catabolic and anabolic gene expression profiles and their balances in intervertebral disc degeneration using a static compression model.
Forty-eight 12-week-old male Sprague-Dawley rat tails were instrumented with an Ilizarov-type device with springs and loaded statically at 1.3 MPa for up to 56 days. Experimental loaded and distal-unloaded control discs were harvested and analyzed by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) messenger RNA quantification for catabolic genes [matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1a, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-7, MMP-9, MMP-13, a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS)-4, and ADAMTS-5], anti-catabolic genes [tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP)-1, TIMP-2, and TIMP-3], ECM genes [aggrecan-1, collagen type 1-α1, and collagen type 2-α1], and pro-inflammatory cytokine genes [tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1α, IL-1β, and IL-6]. Immunohistochemistry for MMP-3, ADAMTS-4, ADAMTS-5, TIMP-1, TIMP-2, and TIMP-3 was performed to assess their protein expression level and distribution. The presence of MMP- and aggrecanase-cleaved aggrecan neoepitopes was similarly investigated to evaluate aggrecanolytic activity.
Quantitative PCR demonstrated up-regulation of all MMPs and ADAMTS-4 but not ADAMTS-5. TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 were almost unchanged while TIMP-3 was down-regulated. Down-regulation of aggrecan-1 and collagen type 2-α1 and up-regulation of collagen type 1-α1 were observed. Despite TNF-α elevation, ILs developed little to no up-regulation. Immunohistochemistry showed, in the nucleus pulposus, the percentage of immunopositive cells of MMP-cleaved aggrecan neoepitope increased from 7 through 56 days with increased MMP-3 and decreased TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 immunopositivity. The percentage of immunopositive cells of aggrecanase-cleaved aggrecan neoepitope increased at 7 and 28 days only with decreased TIMP-3 immunopositivity. In the annulus fibrosus, MMP-cleaved aggrecan neoepitope presented much the same expression pattern. Aggrecanase-cleaved aggrecan neoepitope increased at 7 and 28 days only with increased ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5 immunopositivity.
This rat tail sustained static compression model mimics ECM metabolic imbalances of MMPs, aggrecanases, and TIMPs in human degenerative discs. A dominant imbalance of MMP-3/TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 relative to ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5/TIMP-3 signifies an advanced stage of intervertebral disc degeneration.
PMCID: PMC3446417  PMID: 22394620
3.  Cytokine and catabolic enzyme expression in synovium, synovial fluid and articular cartilage of naturally osteoarthritic equine carpi 
Equine veterinary journal  2010;42(8):693-699.
Reasons for performing study
Biological treatments for osteoarthritis (OA) are an important component of disease control. Understanding the expression of catabolic and anabolic genes during osteoarthritis progression should help to identify the major mediators of the disease.
To compare the cytokine and anabolic marker concentrations in synovium, synovial fluid, and cartilage between normal and osteoarthritic joints.
Equine carpi from horses age 2–11 years were used. Tissues were harvested at the time of surgery or euthanasia, and RNA was isolated for RT-PCR analysis. Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), interleukin-1beta (IL-1β), aggrecanase 1 (ADAMTS-4), aggrecanase 2 (ADAMTS-5), matrix metalloproteinase-13 (MMP-13), interleukin 17 (IL-17), and collagen I alpha 1(Col-1) expression was determined in synovium. TNFα, IL-1β, ADAMTS-4, ADAMTS-5, MMP-13, IL-17, collagen IIB (Col-2B), and aggrecan expression was determined in cartilage. TNFα concentration in the synovial fluid was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Expression of TNFα, ADAMTS-5, and MMP-13 was significantly increased in synovial tissue from OA joints. Synovial membrane IL-1β abundance showed only moderate elevations in OA, without reaching significant levels. Cytokine expression was increased in OA cartilage samples, particularly for TNFα (p=0.0007), IL-1β (p<0.0001), ADAMTS-4 (p=0.0011), and MMP-13 (p<0.0001). Collagen type I expression was significantly increased in synovial tissues from OA groups. Collagen type II message was diminished in mild and moderate stages of OA, but rebounded to significant elevations in severely degenerate joints. Conversely, aggrecan levels significantly declined in all OA cartilage groups (p<0.001). Synovial fluid TNFα peptide concentration was significantly increased in severe OA cases (p=0.021).
TNFα was significantly increased in all degrees of equine OA, and was abundantly expressed in synovial membrane and cartilage. Similarly, IL-1β was overexpressed in OA cartilage, but not to a significant extent in synovium. ADAMTS-4 was more abundant in OA cartilage while ADAMTS-5 predominated in OA synovium. IL-17 expression was not observed in osteoarthritic equine synovium nor cartilage.
Potential relevance
Control of TNFα should be considered further as a target in the treatment of OA. ADAMTS-4 may be the primary aggrecanase causing cartilage breakdown in OA.
PMCID: PMC4183755  PMID: 21039798
horse; osteoarthritis; cytokine; TNFα; IL-1; cartilage; aggrecanase; MMP
4.  Active synovial matrix metalloproteinase-2 is associated with radiographic erosions in patients with early synovitis 
Arthritis Research  2000;2(2):145-153.
Serum and synovial tissue expression of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 and their molecular regulators, MMP-14 and TIMP-2 was examined in 28 patients with inflammatory early synovitis and 4 healthy volunteers and correlated with the presence of erosions in the patients. Immunohistological staining of MMP-2, MMP-14 and TIMP-2 localized to corresponding areas in the synovial lining layer and was almost absent in normal synovium. Patients with radiographic erosions had significantly higher levels of active MMP-2 than patients with no erosions, suggesting that activated MMP-2 levels in synovial tissue may be a marker for a more aggressive synovial lesion.
In cancer the gelatinases [matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9] have been shown to be associated with tissue invasion and metastatic disease. In patients with inflammatory arthritis the gelatinases are expressed in the synovial membrane, and have been implicated in synovial tissue invasion into adjacent cartilage and bone. It is hypothesized that an imbalance between the activators and inhibitors of the gelatinases results in higher levels of activity, enhanced local proteolysis, and bone erosion.
To determine whether the expression and activity levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9, and their regulators MMP-14 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP), are associated with early erosion formation in patients with synovitis of recent onset.
Patients and method:
A subset of 66 patients was selected from a larger early synovitis cohort on the basis of tissue availability for the study of synovial tissue and serum gelatinase expression. Patients with peripheral joint synovitis of less than 1 years' duration were evaluated clinically and serologically on four visits over a period of 12 months. At the initial visit, patients underwent a synovial tissue biopsy of one swollen joint, and patients had radiographic evaluation of hands and feet initially and at 1year. Serum MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-14, and TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 levels were determined, and synovial tissue was examined by immunohistology for the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9, and their molecular regulators. Gelatinolytic activity for MMP-2 and MMP-9 was quantified using a sensitive, tissue-based gel zymography technique. Four healthy individuals underwent closed synovial biopsy and their synovial tissues were similarly analyzed.
Of the 66 patients studied, 45 fulfilled American College of Rheumatology criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with 32 (71%) being rheumatoid factor positive. Of the 21 non-RA patients, seven had a spondylarthropathy and 14 had undifferentiated arthritis. Radiographically, 12 of the RA patients had erosions at multiple sites by 1 year, whereas none of the non-RA patients had developed erosive disease of this extent. In the tissue, latent MMP-2 was widely expressed in the synovial lining layer and in areas of stromal proliferation in the sublining layer and stroma, whereas MMP-9 was expressed more sparsely and focally. MMP-14, TIMP-2, and MMP-2 were all detected in similar areas of the lining layer on consecutive histologic sections. Tissue expression of MMP-14, the activator for pro-MMP-2, was significantly higher in RA than in non-RA patients (8.4 ± 5 versus 3.7 ± 4 cells/high-power field; P = 0.009). In contrast, the expression of TIMP-2, an inhibitor of MMP-2, was lower in the RA than in the non-RA samples (25 ± 12 versus 39 ± 9 cells/high-power field; P = 0.01). Synovial tissue expressions of MMP-2, MMP-14, and TIMP-2 were virtually undetectable in normal synovial tissue samples. The synovial tissue samples of patients with erosive disease had significantly higher levels of active MMP-2 than did those of patients without erosions (Fig. 1). Tissue expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9, however, did not correlate with the serum levels of these enzymes.
With the exception of serum MMP-2, which was not elevated over normal, serum levels of all of the other MMPs and TIMPs were elevated to varying degrees, and were not predictive of erosive disease. Interestingly, MMP-1 and C-reactive protein, both of which were associated with the presence of erosions, were positively correlated with each other (r = 0.42; P < 0.001).
MMP-2 and MMP-9 are thought to play an important role in the evolution of joint erosions in patients with an inflammatory arthritis. Most studies have concentrated on the contribution of MMP-9 to the synovitis, because synovial fluid and serum MMP-9 levels are markedly increased in inflammatory arthropathies. Previously reported serum levels of MMP-9 have varied widely. In the present sample of patients with synovitis of recent onset, serum MMP-9 levels were elevated in only 21%. Moreover, these elevations were not specific for RA, the tissue expression of MMP-9 was focal, and the levels of MMP-9 activity were not well correlated with early erosions. Although serum MMP-2 levels were not of prognostic value, high synovial tissue levels of MMP-2 activity were significantly correlated with the presence of early erosions. This may reflect augmented activation of MMP-2 by the relatively high levels of MMP-14 and low levels of TIMP-2 seen in these tissues. We were able to localize the components of this trimolecular complex to the synovial lining layer in consecutive tissue sections, a finding that is consistent with their colocalization.
In conclusion, we have provided evidence that active MMP-2 complexes are detectable in the inflamed RA synovium and may be involved in the development of early bony erosions. These results suggest that strategies to inhibit the activation of MMP-2 may have the potential for retarding or preventing early erosions in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
PMCID: PMC17808  PMID: 11062605
early synovitis; erosion; metalloproteinase; matrix metalloproteinase-2; rheumatoid arthritis
5.  Histone deacetylase inhibitors modulate metalloproteinase gene expression in chondrocytes and block cartilage resorption 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2005;7(3):R503-R512.
Cartilage destruction in the arthritides is thought to be mediated by two main enzyme families: the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are responsible for cartilage collagen breakdown, and enzymes from the ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain with thrombospondin motifs) family mediate cartilage aggrecan loss. Many genes subject to transcriptional control are regulated, at least in part, by modifications to chromatin, including acetylation of histones. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors on the expression of metalloproteinase genes in chondrocytes and to explore the potential of these inhibitors as chondroprotective agents. The effects of HDAC inhibitors on cartilage degradation were assessed using a bovine nasal cartilage explant assay. The expression and activity of metalloproteinases was measured using real-time RT-PCR, western blot, gelatin zymography, and collagenase activity assays using both SW1353 chondrosarcoma cells and primary human chondrocytes. The HDAC inhibitors trichostatin A and sodium butyrate potently inhibit cartilage degradation in an explant assay. These compounds decrease the level of collagenolytic enzymes in explant-conditioned culture medium and also the activation of these enzymes. In cell culture, these effects are explained by the ability of HDAC inhibitors to block the induction of key MMPs (e.g. MMP-1 and MMP-13) by proinflammatory cytokines at both the mRNA and protein levels. The induction of aggrecan-degrading enzymes (e.g. ADAMTS4, ADAMTS5, and ADAMTS9) is also inhibited at the mRNA level. HDAC inhibitors may therefore be novel chondroprotective therapeutic agents in arthritis by virtue of their ability to inhibit the expression of destructive metalloproteinases by chondrocytes.
PMCID: PMC1174946  PMID: 15899037
6.  S100A8 and S100A9 in experimental osteoarthritis 
The objective was to evaluate the changes in S100A8 S100A9, and their complex (S100A8/S100A9) in cartilage during the onset of osteoarthritis (OA) as opposed to inflammatory arthritis.
S100A8 and S100A9 protein localization were determined in antigen-induced inflammatory arthritis in mice, mouse femoral head cartilage explants stimulated with interleukin-1 (IL-1), and in surgically-induced OA in mice. Microarray expression profiling of all S100 proteins in cartilage was evaluated at different times after initiation of degradation in femoral head explant cultures stimulated with IL-1 and surgically-induced OA. The effect of S100A8, S100A9 or the complex on the expression of aggrecan (Acan), collagen II (Col2a1), disintegrin and metalloproteases with thrombospondin motifs (Adamts1, Adamts 4 &Adamts 5), matrix metalloproteases (Mmp1, Mmp3, Mmp13 &Mmp14) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (Timp1, Timp2 &Timp3), by primary adult ovine articular chondrocytes was determined using real time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR).
Stimulation with IL-1 increased chondrocyte S100a8 and S100a9 mRNA and protein levels. There was increased chondrocyte mRNA expression of S100a8 and S100a9 in early but not late mouse OA. However, loss of the S100A8 staining in chondrocytes occurred as mouse OA progressed, in contrast to the positive reactivity for both S100A8 and S100A9 in chondrocytes in inflammatory arthritis in mice. Homodimeric S100A8 and S100A9, but not the heterodimeric complex, significantly upregulated chondrocyte Adamts1, Adamts4 and Adamts 5, Mmp1, Mmp3 and Mmp13 gene expression, while collagen II and aggrecan mRNAs were significantly decreased.
Chondrocyte derived S100A8 and S100A9 may have a sustained role in cartilage degradation in inflammatory arthritis. In contrast, while these proteins may have a role in initiating early cartilage degradation in OA by upregulating MMPs and aggrecanases, their reduced expression in late stages of OA suggests they do not have an ongoing role in cartilage degradation in this non-inflammatory arthropathy.
PMCID: PMC2875644  PMID: 20105291
7.  Matrix metalloproteinases and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases in synovial fluids from patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2000;59(6):455-461.
OBJECTIVE—Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are expressed in joint tissues of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). The objective of this study was to define the steady state levels of seven different MMPs and two tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) as well as the potential metalloproteinase activity in the synovial fluid (SF) to provide more insight into the role of MMPs in cartilage destruction in RA and OA.
METHODS—Levels of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-7, MMP-8, MMP-9, MMP-13, TIMP-1, and TIMP-2 in SF aspirated from knee joints of 97 patients with RA and 103 patients with OA were measured by the corresponding one step sandwich enzyme immunoassays. Proteolytic activity of MMPs in these SFs was examined in an assay using [3H]carboxymethylated transferrin substrate in the presence of inhibitors of serine and cysteine proteinases after activation with p-aminophenylmercuric acetate (APMA). Destruction of RA knee joints was radiographically evaluated.
RESULTS—Levels of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-8, and MMP-9 were significantly higher in RA SF than in OA SF. MMP-7 and MMP-13 were detectable in more than 45% of RA SFs and in less than 20% of OA SFs, respectively. Among the MMPs examined, MMP-3 levels were extremely high compared with those of other MMPs. Direct correlations were seen between the levels of MMP-1 and MMP-3 and between those of MMP-8 and MMP-9 in RA SF. Although the levels of MMP-1 and MMP-3 increased even in the early stage of RA, those of MMP-8 and MMP-9 were low in the early stage and increased with the progression of RA. Molar ratios of the total amounts of the MMPs to those of the TIMPs were 5.2-fold higher in patients with RA than in OA, which was significant. APMA-activated metalloproteinase activity in SF showed a similar result, and a direct correlation was seen between the molar ratios and the activity in RA SF.
CONCLUSIONS—Our results show that high levels of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-8, MMP-9, and TIMP-1 are present in RA SF and suggest that once these MMPs are fully activated, they have an imbalance against TIMPs, which may contribute to the cartilage destruction in RA.

PMCID: PMC1753174  PMID: 10834863
8.  Characterization and regulation of ADAMTS-16 
Matrix Biology  2009;28(7):416-424.
The ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain with thrombospondin motifs) family includes 19 secreted proteinases in man. ADAMTS16 is a recently cloned gene expressed at high levels in fetal lung and kidney and adult brain and ovary. The ADAMTS-16 protein currently has no known function. ADAMTS16 is also expressed in human cartilage and synovium where its expression is increased in tissues from osteoarthritis patients compared to normal tissues. In this study, we ascertained that the full length ADAMTS16 mRNA was expressed in chondrocytes and cloned the appropriate cDNA. Stable over-expression of ADAMTS16 in chondrosarcoma cells led to a decrease in cell proliferation and migration, though not adhesion, as well as a decrease in the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-13 (MMP13). The transcription start point of the human ADAMTS16 gene was experimentally identified as 138 bp upstream of the translation start ATG and the basal promoter was mapped out to − 1802 bp. Overexpression of Egr1 induced ADAMTS16 promoter constructs of − 157/+138 or longer whilst Sp1 induced all ADAMTS16 promoter constructs. Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) stimulated expression of endogenous ADAMTS16 gene expression in chondrocyte cell lines.
PMCID: PMC2789966  PMID: 19635554
ADAMTS, a disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain with thrombospondin motif; MMP, matrix metalloproteinase; RACE, rapid amplification of cDNA ends; TGFβ, transforming growth factor beta; TIMP, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases; ADAMTS; Metalloproteinase; Chondrocyte; Cartilage; Promoter; Transcription
9.  Expression and regulation of metalloproteinases and their inhibitors in intervertebral disc aging and degeneration 
Destruction of extracellular matrix (ECM) leads to intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD), which underlies many spine-related disorders. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and disintegrins and metalloproteinases with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTSs) are believed to be the major proteolytic enzymes responsible for ECM degradation in the intervertebral disc (IVD).
To summarize the current literature on gene expression and regulation of MMPs, ADAMTSs, and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) in IVD aging and IDD.
A comprehensive literature review of gene expression of MMP, ADAMTS, and TIMP in human IDD and reported studies on regulatory factors controlling their expressions and activities in both human and animal model systems.
Upregulation of specific MMPs (MMP-1, -2, -3, -7, -8, -10, and -13) and ADAMTS (ADAMTS-1, -4, and -15) were reported in human degenerated IVDs. However, it is still unclear from conflicting published studies whether the expression of ADAMTS-5, the predominant aggrecanase, is increased with IDD. Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase-3 is downregulated, whereas TIMP-1 is upregulated in human degenerated IVDs relative to nondegenerated IVDs. Numerous studies indicate that the expression levels of MMP and ADAMTS are modulated by a combination of many factors, including mechanical, inflammatory, and oxidative stress, some of which are mediated in part through the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Genetic predisposition also plays an important role in determining gene expression of MMP-1, -2, -3, and -9.
Upregulation of MMP and ADAMTS expression and enzymatic activity is implicated in disc ECM destruction, leading to the development of IDD. Future IDD therapeutics depends on identifying specific MMPs and ADAMTSs whose dysregulation result in pathological proteolysis of disc ECM.
PMCID: PMC3637842  PMID: 23369495
Intervertebral disc degeneration; Extracellular matrix; MMPs; ADAMTS; Aging
10.  MMPs are less efficient than ADAMTS5 in cleaving aggrecan core protein 
Aggrecan degradation in articular cartilage occurs predominantly through proteolysis and has been attributed to the action of members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) and a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS) families. Both families of enzymes cleave aggrecan at specific sites within the aggrecan core protein. One cleavage site within the interglobular domain (IGD), between Glu373–374Ala and five additional sites in the chondroitin sulfate-2 (CS-2) region of aggrecan were characterized as “aggrecanase” (ADAMTS) cleavage sites, while cleavage between Ser341–342Phe within the IGD of bovine aggrecan is attributed to MMP action. The objective of this study was to assess the cleavage efficiency of MMPs relative to ADAMTS and their contribution to aggrecan proteolysis in vitro. The analysis of aggrecan IGD degradation in bovine articular cartilage explants treated with catabolic cytokines over a 19-day period showed that MMP-mediated degradation of aggrecan within the IGD can only be observed following day 12 of culture. This delay is associated with the lack of activation of proMMPs during the first 12 days of culture. Analysis of MMP1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13 and ADAMTS5 efficiencies at cleaving within the aggrecan IGD and CS-2 region in vitro was carried out by the digestion of bovine aggrecan with the various enzymes and Western blot analysis using aggrecan anti-G1 and anti-G3 antibodies. Of these MMPs, MMP12 was the most efficient at cleaving within the aggrecan IGD. In addition to cleavage in the IGD, MMP, 3, 7, 8 and 12 were also able to degrade the aggrecan CS-2 region. MMP3 and MMP12 were able to degrade aggrecan at the very C-terminus of the CS-2 region, cleaving the Glu2047–2048Ala bond which was previously shown to be cleaved by ADAMTS5. However, in comparison to ADAMTS5, MMP3 was about 100 times and 10 times less efficient at cleaving within the aggrecan IGD and CS-2 regions, respectively. Collectively, our results showed that the delayed activation of proMMPs and the relatively low cleavage efficiency of MMPs can explain the minor contribution of these enzymes to aggrecan catabolism in vivo. This study also uncovered a potential role for MMPs in the C-terminal truncation of aggrecan.
PMCID: PMC3057330  PMID: 21055468
Aggrecan catabolism; MMP; ADAMTS; Interglobular domain; Chondroitin-sulfate-2 region
11.  Effect of small interference RNA (siRNA) for ADAMTS5 on intervertebral disc degeneration in the rabbit anular needle-puncture model 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2009;11(6):R166.
The etiology of degenerative disc disease is unknown. Several investigators have reported the presence of proteolytic enzymes, such as the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) and ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloprotease with thrombospondin-like repeats) families, in degenerated human discs. Glasson and colleagues recently reported that a significant reduction occurs in the severity of cartilage destruction in ADAMTS5 knockout mice compared with wild-type mice. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the suppressive effects of injections of ADAMTS5 small interference RNA (siRNA) oligonucleotide on intervertebral disc degeneration in the rabbit anular needle-puncture model.
Rabbit nucleus pulposus (NP) cells were transfected with siRNA oligonucleotides specific for ADAMTS5 or the control. The suppression of the ADAMTS5 gene by siRNA transfection was assessed by using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), both in monolayer and alginate bead cultures with or without interleukin-1β (IL-1β) stimulation. The effect of siRNA was determined in vivo by using the rabbit anular needle-puncture model (control group: n = 8; ADAMTS5 group: n = 8). One week after the initial anular puncture, the animals received an injection of the control or anti-ADAMTS5 oligonucleotide (100 μg each at the L2/3 and L4/5 level; 16 discs/group). Disc height, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (Thompson classification and signal intensity), and safranin-O staining (histologic grade) were assessed.
IL-1β treatment significantly increased the ADAMTS5 mRNA level in NP cells (P < 0.01). ADAMTS5 gene suppression was 70% compared with the control oligonucleotide in both monolayer and alginate bead culture with or without stimulation with IL-1β. The injection of anti-ADAMTS5 oligonucleotide in vivo resulted in improved MRI scores with increased signal intensity and improved histologic grade scores with statistical significance (P < 0.05). No significant change in disc height was observed.
A single injection of ADAMTS5 siRNA induced the suppression of degradation in NP tissues, as shown by significantly improved MRI and histologic grades. The mechanism of response to siRNA may be worthy of exploration for possible therapeutic purposes.
PMCID: PMC3003501  PMID: 19889209
12.  Standardized butanol fraction of WIN-34B suppresses cartilage destruction via inhibited production of matrix metalloproteinase and inflammatory mediator in osteoarthritis human cartilage explants culture and chondrocytes 
WIN-34B is a novel Oriental medicine, which represents the n-butanol fraction prepared from dried flowers of Lonicera japonica Thunb and dried roots of Anemarrhena asphodeloides BUNGE. The component herb of WIN-34B is used for arthritis treatment in East Asian countries. The aim of this study was to determine the cartilage-protective effects and mechanisms of WIN-34B and its major phenolic compounds, chlorogenic acid and mangiferin, in osteoarthritis (OA) human cartilage explants culture and chondrocytes.
The investigation focused on whether WIN-34B and its standard compounds protected cartilage in interleukin (IL)-1β-stimulated cartilage explants culture and chondrocytes derived from OA patients. Also, the mechanisms of WIN-34B on matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMPs), inflammatory mediators, and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) pathways were assessed.
WIN-34B was not cytotoxic to cultured cartilage explants or chondrocytes. WIN-34B dose-dependently inhibited the release of glycosaminoglycan and type II collagen, increased the mRNA expression of aggrecan and type II collagen, and recovered the intensity of proteoglycan and collagen by histological analysis in IL-1β-stimulated human cartilage explants culture. The cartilage protective effect of WIN-34B was similar to or better than that of chlorogenic acid and mangiferin. Compared to chlorogenic acid and mangiferin, WIN-34B displayed equal or greater decreases in the levels of MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-13, ADAMTS-4, and ADAMTS-5, and markedly up-regulated TIMP-1 and TIMP-3. WIN-34B inhibited inflammatory mediators involved in cartilage destruction, such as prostaglandin E2, nitric oxide, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and IL-1β. The phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and p38 was significantly reduced by WIN-34B treatment, while phosphorylation of JNK was only inhibited by chlorogenic acid or mangiferin in IL-1β-stimulated chondrocytes.
WIN-34B is potentially valuable as a treatment for OA by virtue of its suppression of MMPs, ADAMTSs, and inflammatory mediators, and it’s up-regulation of TIMP-1 and TIMP-3 involved in the MAPK pathway.
PMCID: PMC3559294  PMID: 23241445
WIN-34B; Standard compounds; Cartilage protection; Matrix proteinases; Inflammatory mediators
13.  Loss of Extracellular Matrix from Articular Cartilage is Mediated by the Synovium and Ligament after Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury 
Post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) occurs after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. PTOA may be initiated by early expression of proteolytic enzymes capable of causing degradation of the articular cartilage at time of injury. This study investigated the production of three of these key proteases in multiple joint tissues after ACL injury and subsequent markers of cartilage turnover.
ACL transection was performed in adolescent minipigs. Collagenase (MMP-1 and MMP-13) and aggrecanase (ADAMTS-4) gene expression changes were quantified in the articular cartilage, synovium, injured ligament, and the provisional scaffold at days 1, 5, 9, and 14 post-injury. Markers of collagen degradation (C2C), synthesis (CPII) and aggrecan synthesis (CS846) were quantified in the serum and synovial fluid. Histologic assessment of the cartilage integrity (OARSI scoring) was also performed.
MMP-1 gene expression was upregulated in the articular cartilage, synovium and ligament after ACL injury. MMP-13 expression was suppressed in the articular cartilage, but upregulated 100fold in the synovium and ligament. ADAMTS-4 was upregulated in the synovium and ligament but not in the articular cartilage. The concentration of collagen degradation fragments (C2C) in the synovial joint fluid nearly doubled in the first five days after injury.
We conclude that upregulation of genes coding for proteins capable of degrading cartilage ECM is seen within the first few days after ACL injury, and this response is seen not only in chondrocytes, but also in cells in the synovium, ligament and provisional scaffold.
PMCID: PMC3917322  PMID: 24036379
Cartilage; metalloproteinases; aggrecanase; ACL; joint tissues
14.  Matrix metalloproteinase 28, a novel matrix metalloproteinase, is constitutively expressed in human intervertebral disc tissue and is present in matrix of more degenerated discs 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2009;11(6):R184.
The regulation and elevation in expression of the catabolic matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) is of high importance in the human intervertebral disc since upregulation of these matrix-degrading enzymes results in matrix destruction associated with disc degeneration. MMP28 (epilysin) is a newly discovered MMP believed to play a role in matrix composition and turnover in skin. It is present in basal keratinocytes where its expression is upregulated with wound repair, and in cartilage and synovium where it is upregulated in osteoarthritis. Recent work has shown that mechanical compression can act to modulate expression of MMP28. The expression of MMP28 is unexplored in the intervertebral disc.
Following approval by our human subjects institutional review board, we employed microarray analyses to evaluate in vivo expression of MMP28 and the MMP28 precursor in human disc tissue, and utilized immunohistochemistry to determine cellular and extracellular matrix localization of MMP28 in 35 human disc tissue specimens. The percentage of cells positive for MMP28 immunocytochemical localization was also determined.
The present work documents the expression and presence of MMP28 in cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) of the human intervertebral disc. Gene expression levels in human disc tissue were detectable for both MMP28 and the MMP28 precursor. MMP28 cytoplasmic localization was present in cells of the outer annulus; it was also present in some, but not all, cells of the inner annulus and nucleus. MMP28 was not found in the ECM of healthier Grade I to II discs, but was identified in the ECM of 61% of the more degenerated Grade III to V discs (P = 0.0018). There was a significant difference in cellular MMP28 distribution in the disc (P = 0.008): the outer annulus showed the largest percentage of cells positive for MMP28 immunolocalization, followed by the inner annulus and then the nucleus. Herniated discs showed a significantly greater proportion of MMP28-positive cells compared with nonherniated discs (P = 0.034).
Findings presented here show the first documentation of intervertebral disc expression and production of MMP28. MMP28 was found in both disc cell cytoplasm and in the ECM of more degenerated specimens, with greater cellular localization in the outer annulus and in herniated disc specimens. These findings are important because of the key role of MMPs in disc turnover and homeostasis, and previous indications of a role for this MMP in matrix repair and matrix turnover in other tissues. Our data, which show the presence of MMP28 in human disc tissue, suggest that MMP28 may have a potentially important role in ECM modulation in the healthy and degenerating disc.
PMCID: PMC3003526  PMID: 20003223
15.  Gene expression of matrix metalloproteinases 1, 3, and 9 by chondrocytes in osteoarthritic human knee articular cartilage is zone and grade specific 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1997;56(9):542-549.
OBJECTIVES—Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are thought to be major mediators of cartilage destruction. Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterised by cartilage degradation. This study explores gene expression of three MMPs in articular chondrocytes during the histological development of the cartilage lesion of OA.
METHODS—Biopsy specimens of human normal and OA cartilage, classified into four grades on the basis of histology, were probed for MMPs 1, 3, and 9 using 35S-labelled cDNA probes. The signal was measured at four different depths (zones) using an automated image analyser and compared with signal from sections probed with λDNA. Rheumatoid synovium was used as a positive control for MMP gene expression.
RESULTS—Rheumatoid tissue contained mRNA for all three MMPs. Expression in chondrocytes varied with the depth of the chondrocyte in the cartilage and the histomorphological extent of the OA changes. There was no detectable mRNA signal for these three MMPs in normal cartilage. In general, in OA, MMP-1 gene expression was greatest in the superficial cartilage in established disease. By contrast mRNAs for MMP-3 and 9 were expressed deeper in the cartilage, MMP-9 early in disease and MMP-3 with a biphasic pattern in early and late stage disease, most pronounced in the latter. This was a consequence of differential expression in single cells and chondrocyte clusters in late disease.
CONCLUSION—The data indicate that expression of genes for MMPs 1, 3, and 9 is differentially regulated in human articular chondrocytes and, in individual cells, is related to the depth of the chondrocyte below the cartilage surface and the nature and extent of the cartilage lesion.

PMCID: PMC1752435  PMID: 9370879
16.  Hypoxia promotes redifferentiation and suppresses markers of hypertrophy and degeneration in both healthy and osteoarthritic chondrocytes 
Hypoxia is considered to be a positive influence on the healthy chondrocyte phenotype and cartilage matrix formation. However, hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis (OA). Thus, we assessed whether healthy and OA chondrocytes have distinct responses to oxygen, particularly with regard to hypertrophy and degradation during redifferentiation.
Monolayer-expanded healthy and OA chondrocytes were redifferentiated for 14 days in pellet cultures under standard (20% oxygen) or hypoxic (2% oxygen) conditions. Cartilage matrix gene expression, matrix quality and quantity, degradative enzyme expression and HIF expression were measured.
In hypoxia, both healthy and OA chondrocytes had higher human collagen type II, α1 gene (COL2A1), and aggrecan (ACAN) expression and sulfated glycosaminoglycan (sGAG) accumulation, concomitant with lower human collagen type X, α1 gene (COL10A1), and human collagen type I, α1 gene (COL1A1), expression and collagen I extracellular accumulation. OA chondrocytes had significantly lower sGAGs/DNA than healthy chondrocytes, but only in high oxygen conditions. Hypoxia also caused significantly greater sGAG retention and hyaluronic acid synthase 2 (HAS2) expression by OA chondrocytes. Both healthy and OA chondrocytes had significantly lower expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) MMP1, MMP2, MMP3 and MMP13 in hypoxia and less active MMP2 enzyme, consistent with lower MMP14 expression. However, aggrecanase (ADAMTS4 and ADAMTS5) expression was significantly lowered by hypoxia only in healthy cells, and COL10A1 and MMP13 remained significantly higher in OA chondrocytes than in healthy chondrocytes in hypoxic conditions. HIF-1α and HIF-2α had similar expression profiles in healthy and OA cells, increasing to maximal levels early in hypoxia and decreasing over time.
Hypoxic culture of human chondrocytes has long been acknowledged to result in increased matrix accumulation, but still little is known of its effects on catabolism. We show herein that the increased expression of matrix proteins, combined with decreased expression of numerous degradative enzymes by hypoxia, minimizes but does not abolish differences between redifferentiated healthy and OA chondrocytes. Hypoxia-induced HIF expression is associated with hypertrophic marker and degradative enzyme downregulation and increased measures of redifferentiation in both healthy and OA chondrocytes. Therefore, though HIFs may be involved in the pathogenesis of OA, conditions that promote HIF expression in vitro promote matrix accumulation and decrease degradation and hypertrophy, even in cells from OA joints.
PMCID: PMC3979022  PMID: 23965235
17.  Analysis of ADAMTS4 and MT4-MMP indicates that both are involved in aggrecanolysis in interleukin-1-treated bovine cartilage 
To investigate the mechanism of aggrecanolysis in IL-1-treated cartilage tissue by examining the time course of aggrecan cleavages and the tissue and medium content of MT4-MMP and ADAMTS4.
Articular cartilage explants were harvested from newborn bovine femoropatellar groove. The effects of IL-1 treatment with or without aggrecanase blockade were investigated by Western analysis of aggrecan fragment generation, ADAMTS4 species (p68 and p53), and MT4-MMP, as well as by realtime PCR for ADAMTS4 and 5. Aggrecanase was blocked with mannosamine, an inhibitor of glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor synthesis, and esculetin, an inhibitor of MMP-1, MMP-3, and MMP-13 gene expression.
IL-1 treatment caused a major increase in MT4-MMP abundance in the tissue and medium. ADAMTS4(p68) was abundant in fresh cartilage and this was retained in the tissue in untreated cartilage. IL-1 treatment for six days caused a marked loss of p68 from the cartilage and the appearance of p53 in the medium. Addition of either 1.35 mM mannosamine or 31μM–500μM esculetin blocked IL-1-mediated aggrecanolysis and this was accompanied by nearly complete inhibition of the MT4-MMP increase, the p68 loss and the formation of p53. IL-1 treatment increased mRNA abundance for ADAMTS4 (~3-fold) and ADAMTS5 (~10-fold) but this was not accompanied by a marked change in enzyme protein abundance.
These studies support a central role for MT4-MMP in IL-1-induced cartilage aggrecanolysis and are consistent with the identification of p68 as the aggrecanase that cleaves within the CS2 domain, and of p53 as the aggrecanase that generates G1-NITEGE. Since the induction by IL-1 was not accompanied by marked changes in total ADAMTS4 protein, but rather in partial conversion of p68 to p53 and release of both from the tissue, we conclude that aggrecanolysis in this model system results from MT4-MMP-mediated processing of a resident pool of ADAMTS4 and release of the p68 and p53 from their normal association with the cell surface.
PMCID: PMC2771540  PMID: 15780640
aggrecan degradation; ADAMTS4; MT4-MMP; mannosamine; esculetin
18.  Inhibition of Histone Deacetylases Antagonized FGF2 and IL-1β Effects on MMP Expression in Human Articular Chondrocytes 
Fibroblast growth factor – 2 (FGF2) and interleukin – 1β IL-1β) stimulate the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in articular chondrocytes, which may contribute to cartilage degradation and development of osteoarthritis. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) have recently been implicated in the regulation of MMP gene expression. To investigate the functional involvement of HDACs in the signaling pathway of FGF2 and IL-1β, we examined the effects of HDAC inhibition on activities of FGF2 or IL-1β on gene expression of MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-13, a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs – 5 (ADAMTS5), collagen type II, and aggrecan. Human articular chondrocyte cultures were treated with FGF2 or IL-1β in the presence or absence of HDAC inhibitor (trichostatin A, TSA). Gene expression levels after treatments were assessed using quantitative real time PCR. Results showed that FGF2 and IL-1β both increased MMP-1 and -13 expression, while IL-1βalso increased MMP-3 mRNA levels. These effects were attenuated in the presence of TSA in a dose dependent manner. In contrast to the effects on MMPs, FGF2 decreased mRNA levels of ADAMTS–5, which was not affected by HDAC inhibition. FGF2, IL-1β, and TSA inhibited expression of aggrecan, while TSA also decreased mRNA levels of collagen type II. These findings showed that HDAC inhibition antagonized FGF2 and IL-1β induced MMP expression. Combination of FGF2 and the HDAC inhibitor decreases both anabolic and catabolic genes, which may slow the cartilage turnover and be beneficial for maintaining cartilage integrity.
PMCID: PMC3612426  PMID: 19107653
Fibroblast growth factor; interleukin –1β; histone deacetylase; matrix metalloproteinase; articular chondrocyte; trichostatin A
19.  Histone deacetylase 4 alters cartilage homeostasis in human osteoarthritis 
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common degenerative joint disorder, and a major cause of pain and disability among the elderly. Histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) has been shown to be a key regulator of chondrocyte hypertrophy during skeletogenesis. The aims of present study were to investigate the expression of HDAC4 in normal and OA cartilage and its potential roles during OA pathogenesis.
The knee cartilage specimen (a total of 18, 12 female and 6 male) were obtained from primary OA patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and normal donors. By using immunohistochemistry staining, we detected the expression patterns of HDAC4 in OA cartilage and normal cartilage respectively. To assess the potential roles of HDAC4, HDAC4 expression in human chondrosarcoma cells (SW1353) was down-regulated by transfecting small interference RNA (siRNA), thereafter, cells were treated with IL-1β or TNF-α, and the expressions of several matrix-degrading enzymes and anabolic factors were examined by using quantitative PCR.
The expression of HDAC4 was observed in the OA cartilage, whereas it was barely detected in the normal cartilage. The extent of HDAC4 expression had a statistically negative correlation with OA severity. We further explored that the reduction of HDAC4 level led to a significant repression of proinflammation cytokines induced up-regulated expressions of matrix-degrading enzymes (MMP1 (Matrix metalloproteinase 1), MMP3 (Matrix metalloproteinase 3) , MMP13 (Matrix metalloproteinase 13), ADAMTS4 (aggrecanase 1) and ADAMTS5 (aggrecanase 2)) in SW1353 in vitro. Moreover, knockdown of HDAC4 inhibited the expression of some anabolic genes (such as aggrecan).
In this study, our findings suggest that the abnormal expression of HDAC4 in osteoarthritic cartilage might be implicated in promoting catabolic activity of chondrocyte, which is associated with OA pathogenesis. Thus, our findings give a new insight into the mechanism of articular cartilage damage, and indicate that HDAC4 might be a potential target for the therapeutic interventions of OA.
PMCID: PMC4300609  PMID: 25515592
Osteoarthritis; HDAC4; Chondrocyte; Catabolism; Homeostasis
20.  ADAMTS-7: a metalloproteinase that directly binds to and degrades cartilage oligomeric matrix protein 
Degradative fragments of cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) have been observed in arthritic patients. The physiological enzyme(s) that degrade COMP, however, remain unknown. We performed a yeast two-hybrid screen (Y2H) to search for proteins that associate with COMP to identify an interaction partner that might degrade it. One screen using the epidermal growth factor (EGF) domain of COMP as bait led to the discovery of ADAMTS-7. Rat ADAMTS-7 is composed of 1595 amino acids, and this protein exhibits higher expression in the musculoskeletal tissues. COMP binds directly to ADAMTS-7 in vitro and in native articular cartilage. ADAMTS-7 selectively interacts with the EGF repeat domain but not with the other three functional domains of COMP, whereas the four C-terminal TSP motifs of ADAMTS-7 are required and sufficient for association with COMP. The recombinant catalytic domain and intact ADAMTS-7 are capable of digesting COMP in vitro. The enzymatic activity of ADAMTS-7 requires the presence of Zn2+ and appropriate pH (7.5-9.5), and the concentration of ADAMTS-7 in cartilage and synovium of patients with rheumatoid arthritis is significantly increased as compared to normal cartilage and synovium. ADAMTS-7 is the first metalloproteinase found to bind directly to and degrade COMP.—Liu, C., Kong, W., Ilalov, K., Yu, S., Xu, K., Prazak, L., Fajardo, M., Sehgal, B., Di Cesare, P. E. ADAMTS-7: a metalloproteinase that directly binds to and degrades cartilage oligomeric matrix protein. FASEB J. 20, E129 -E140 (2006)
PMCID: PMC1483927  PMID: 16585064
degradation; arthritis; COMP
21.  Reactive-site mutants of N-TIMP-3 that selectively inhibit ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5: biological and structural implications 
Biochemical Journal  2010;431(Pt 1):113-122.
We have reported previously that reactive-site mutants of N-TIMP-3 [N-terminal inhibitory domain of TIMP-3 (tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 3)] modified at the N-terminus, selectively inhibited ADAM17 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17) over the MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases). The primary aggrecanases ADAMTS (ADAM with thrombospondin motifs) -4 and -5 are ADAM17-related metalloproteinases which are similarly inhibited by TIMP-3, but are poorly inhibited by other TIMPs. Using a newly developed recombinant protein substrate based on the IGD (interglobular domain) of aggrecan, gst-IGD-flag, these reactive-site mutants were found to similarly inhibit ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5. Further mutations of N-TIMP-3 indicated that up to two extra alanine residues can be attached to the N-terminus before the Ki (app) for ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5 increased to over 100 nM. No other residues tested at the [−1] position produced inhibitors as potent as the alanine mutant. The mutants N-TIMP-3(T2G), [−1A]N-TIMP-3 and [−2A]N-TIMP-3 were effective inhibitors of aggrecan degradation, but not of collagen degradation in both IL-1α (interleukin-1α)-stimulated porcine articular cartilage explants and IL-1α with oncostatin M-stimulated human cartilage explants. Molecular modelling studies indicated that the [−1A]N-TIMP-3 mutant has additional stabilizing interactions with the catalytic domains of ADAM17, ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5 that are absent from complexes with MMPs. These observations suggest that further mutation of the residues of N-TIMP-3 which make unique contacts with these metalloproteinases may allow discrimination between them.
PMCID: PMC3003256  PMID: 20645923
a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS); aggrecanase; collagenase; metalloproteinase; osteoarthritis; tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 3 (TIMP-3); ADAM, a disintegrin and metalloproteinase; ADAMTS, ADAM with thrombospondin motifs; CBB, Coomassie Brilliant Blue R-250; DMBA, dimethylaminobenzaldehyde; DMEM, Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium; DMMB, Dimethylmethylene Blue; Dpa, N-3-(2,4-dinitrophenyl)-L-2,3-diaminopropionyl; GAG, glycosaminoglycan; GST, glutathione transferase; IGD, interglobular domain; IL-1α, interleukin-1α; Mca, (7-methoxycoumarin-4-yl)acetyl; MMP, matrix metalloproteinase; N-TIMP, N-terminal domain of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases; OA, osteoarthritis; OSM, oncostatin M; TIMP, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases
22.  Reactive-site mutants of N-TIMP-3 that selectively inhibit ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5: biological and structural implications 
The Biochemical journal  2010;431(1):113-122.
We have reported previously that reactive-site mutants of N-TIMP-3 [N-terminal inhibitory domain of TIMP-3 (tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 3)] modified at the N-terminus, selectively inhibited ADAM17 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17) over the MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases). The primary aggrecanases ADAMTS (ADAM with thrombospondin motifs) -4 and -5 are ADAM17-related metalloproteinases which are similarly inhibited by TIMP-3, but are poorly inhibited by other TIMPs. Using a newly developed recombinant protein substrate based on the IGD (interglobular domain) of aggrecan, gst-IGD-flag, these reactive-site mutants were found to similarly inhibit ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5. Further mutations of N-TIMP-3 indicated that up to two extra alanine residues can be attached to the N-terminus before the Ki (app) for ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5 increased to over 100 nM. No other residues tested at the [−1] position produced inhibitors as potent as the alanine mutant. The mutants N-TIMP-3(T2G), [–1A]N-TIMP-3 and [–2A]N-TIMP-3 were effective inhibitors of aggrecan degradation, but not of collagen degradation in both IL-1α (interleukin-1α)-stimulated porcine articular cartilage explants and IL-1α with oncostatin M-stimulated human cartilage explants. Molecular modelling studies indicated that the [–1A]N-TIMP-3 mutant has additional stabilizing interactions with the catalytic domains of ADAM17, ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5 that are absent from complexes with MMPs. These observations suggest that further mutation of the residues of N-TIMP-3 which make unique contacts with these metalloproteinases may allow discrimination between them.
PMCID: PMC3003256  PMID: 20645923
a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS); aggrecanase; collagenase; metalloproteinase; osteoarthritis; tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 3 (TIMP-3)
23.  Matrix Metalloproteinase-3 In Articular Cartilage Is Upregulated By Joint Immobilization And Suppressed By Passive Joint Motion 
Both underloading and overloading of joints can lead to articular cartilage degradation, a process mediated in part by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Here we examine the effects of reduced loading of rat hindlimbs on articular cartilage expression of MMP-3, which not only digests matrix components but also activates other proteolytic enzymes. We show that hindlimb immobilization resulted in elevated MMP-3 mRNA expression at 6 hours that was sustained throughout the 21 day immobilization period. MMP-3 upregulation was higher in the medial condyle than the lateral, and was greatest in the superficial cartilage zone, followed by middle and deep zones. These areas also showed decreases in safranin O staining, consistent with reduced cartilage proteoglycan content, as early as 7 days after immobilization. One hour of daily moderate mechanical loading, applied as passive joint motion, reduced the MMP-3 and ADAMTS-5 increases that resulted from immobilization, and also prevented changes in safranin O staining. Intra-articular injections of an MMP-3 inhibitor, N-isobutyl-N-(4-methoxyphenylsulfonyl)-glycylhydroxamic acid (NNGH), dampened the catabolic effects of a 7 day immobilization period, indicating a likely requirement for MMP-3 in the regulation of proteoglycan levels through ADAMTS-5. These results suggest that biomechanical forces have the potential to combat cartilage destruction and can be critical in developing effective therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC2902573  PMID: 20153826
MMP-3; Immobilization; Passive motion; Cartilage
24.  SKI306X inhibition of glycosaminoglycan degradation in human cartilage involves down-regulation of cytokine-induced catabolic genes 
SKI306X, a mixed extract of three herbs, Clematis mandshurica (CM), Prunella vulgaris (PV), and Trichosanthes kirilowii (TK), is chondroprotective in animal models of osteoarthritis (OA). The objectives of this study were to investigate its effect on interleukin (IL)-1β-induced degradation of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) and the basis of its action in human OA cartilage, as well as to screen for the presence of inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-13 and a disintegrin and metalloprotease with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS)-4 in SKI306X and its component herbs, as well as in fractions from SKI306X.
Human OA chondrocytes and cartilage explants were obtained during total knee replacements and incubated with IL-1β ± oncostatin M with or without SKI306X or its component herb extracts. GAG degradation was assayed in cartilage explants using a commercial kit. Expression of genes involved in cartilage destruction was measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction using chondrocyte RNA. SKI306X was fractionated by preparative liquid chromatography to test for the presence of inhibitors of MMP-13 and ADAMTS-4.
SKI306X and PV inhibited IL-1β-induced GAG release from cartilage explants, and SKI306X, CM, PV, and TK inhibited IL-1β-induced MMP gene expression. Unexpectedly, SKI306X greatly stimulated IL-1β + oncostatin M-induced ADAMTS-4 gene expression, probably due to its TK component. Some fractions of SKI306X also inhibited ADAMTS-4 activity.
SKI306X and its herbal components inhibit GAG degradation and catabolic gene expression in human OA chondrocytes and cartilage explants. SKI306X likely also contains one or more ADAMTS-4 inhibitor.
PMCID: PMC4164729  PMID: 25228841
Aggrecanase; Cartilage; Matrix metalloproteinase; Osteoarthritis; SKI306X
25.  Dual regulation of metalloproteinase expression in chondrocytes by WISP3/CCN6 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2012;64(7):2289-2299.
WISP3/CCN6 is mutated in progressive pseudorheumatoid dysplasia and may have effects on cartilage homeostasis. In order to uncover further roles for WISP3/CCN6 its expression was explored in osteoarthritic cartilage. Effects of WISP3/CCN6 on cartilage-relevant metalloproteinase expression were investigated in immortalised (C-28/I2) and primary chondrocytes.
Cartilage steady state levels of WISP3/CCN6 mRNA and protein production were determined by quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry respectively. WISP3/CCN6 was over-expressed in C-28/I2 cells and resultant stable clones analysed by real time RT-PCR for metalloproteinase expression and signalling pathways involved explored with pharmacological inhibition. Effects of WISP3/CCN6 on metalloproteinase expression in primary chondrocytes were investigated by an siRNA approach.
WISP3/CCN6 was highly expressed in osteoarthritic cartilage compared to undamaged cartilage at RNA and protein levels. WISP3/CCN6 over-expression in C-28/I2 cells resulted in unexpected dual regulation of metalloproteinases: the expression of the potent aggrecanase, ADAMTS5, was down-regulated 9-fold, whilst MMP10 was up-regulated 14-fold, responses accentuated by suspension culture. MMP10 up-regulation was dependent on several MAP kinases but WISP3/CCN6-mediated ADAMTS5 repression was independent of these pathways and partially relieved by activation of β-catenin signalling. WISP3/CCN6 also suppressed ADAMTS5 expression in C-28/I2 cells treated with cytokines. In cytokine-treated primary chondrocytes gene silencing of WISP3/CCN6 resulted in enhanced ADAMTS5 expression whilst MMP10 expression was suppressed.
WISP3/CCN6 was highly expressed in end-stage osteoarthritic cartilage suggesting a role for this growth factor in cartilage homeostasis. WISP3/CCN6 repression of ADAMTS5 expression and regulation of MMP10 expression suggests complex and context-dependent roles for WISP3/CCN6 in cartilage biology.
PMCID: PMC3366172  PMID: 22294415

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