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.
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.
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.
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
Members of the ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs) family are known to influence development, angiogenesis, coagulation and progression of arthritis. As proteinases their substrates include the von Willebrand factor precursor and extracellular matrix components such as procollagen, hyalectans (hyaluronan-binding proteoglycans including aggrecan), decorin, fibromodulin and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein. ADAMTS levels and activities are regulated at multiple levels through the control of gene expression, mRNA splicing, protein processing and inhibition by TIMP (tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases). A recent screen of human cartilage has shown that multiple members of the ADAMTS family may be important in connective tissue homeostasis and pathology.
Increased expression of metalloproteinases is a fundamental aspect of arthritispathology and its control is a major therapeutic objective. In cartilage cultured in the presence of the cytokines interleukin-1 and oncostatin M, chondrocytes produce enhanced levels of metalloproteinases of the ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs) and MMP (matrix metalloproteinase) families, resulting in the degradation of aggrecan and collagen. The histone deacetylase inhibitors trichostatin A and butyrate were shown to drastically reduce expression of these enzymes relatively selectively, with concomitant inhibition of breakdown of matrix components. This family of enzymes is therefore a promising target for therapeutic intervention.
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.
The major components of the cartilage extracellular matrix are type II collagen and aggrecan. Type II collagen provides cartilage with its tensile strength, while the water-binding capacity of aggrecan provides compressibility and elasticity. Aggrecan breakdown leads to an increase in proteolytic susceptibility of articular collagen, hence aggrecan may also have a protective effect on type II collagen. Given their role in aggrecan degradation and differing substrate specificity profiles, the pursuit of inhibitors for both aggrecanase 1 [a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS)-4] and aggrecanase 2 (ADAMTS-5) is desirable. We have previously described collagen-model fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) substrates for aggrecan-degrading members of the ADAMTS family. These FRET substrate assays are also fully compatible with multi-well formats. In the present study, a collagen-model FRET substrate has been examined for inhibitor screening of ADAMTS-4. ADAMTS-4 was screened against a small compound library (n = 960) with known pharmacologic activity. Five compounds were identified that inhibited ADAMTS-4 >60% at a concentration of 1 μM. A secondary screen using RP-HPLC was developed and performed for verification of the five potential inhibitors. Ultimately, piceatannol was confirmed as a novel inhibitor of ADAMTS-4, with an IC50 value of 1 μM. Because the collagen-model FRET substrates have distinct conformational features that may interact with protease secondary substrate sites (exosites), non-active site binding inhibitors can be identified via this approach. Selective inhibitors for ADAMTS-4 would allow for a more definitive evaluation of this protease in osteoarthritis, as well as representing a potential next generation in metalloproteinase therapeutics.
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.
Aggrecan catabolism; MMP; ADAMTS; Interglobular domain; Chondroitin-sulfate-2 region
The loss of extracellular matrix macromolecules from the cartilage results in serious impairment of joint function. Metalloproteinases called 'aggrecanases' that cleave the Glu373–Ala374 bond of the aggrecan core protein play a key role in the early stages of cartilage destruction in rheumatoid arthritis and in osteoarthritis. Three members of the ADAMTS family of proteinases, ADAMTS-1, ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5, have been identified as aggrecanases. Matrix metalloproteinases, which are also found in arthritic joints, cleave aggrecans, but at a distinct site from the aggrecanases (i.e. Asn341–Phe342). The present review discuss the enzymatic properties of the three known aggrecanases, the regulation of their activities, and their role in cartilage matrix breakdown during the development of arthritis in relation to the action of matrix metalloproteinases.
ADAMTS; chondrocytes; matrix metalloproteinases; osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a common joint disease for which there are currently no disease-modifying drugs available. Degradation of the cartilage extracellular matrix is a central feature of the disease and is widely though to be mediated by proteinases that degrade structural components of the matrix, primarily aggrecan and collagen. Studies on transgenic mice have confirmed the central role of Adamalysin with Thrombospondin Motifs 5 (ADAMTS-5) in aggrecan degradation, and the collagenolytic matrix metalloproteinase MMP-13 in collagen degradation. This review discusses recent advances in current understanding of the mechanisms regulating expression of these key enzymes, as well as reviewing the roles of other proteinases in cartilage destruction.
osteoarthritis; proteinase; cartilage; aggrecanase; collagenase
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.
Aggrecan is one of the two major constituents of articular cartilage, and during diseases such as osteoarthritis (OA) it is subject to degradation by proteolytic enzymes. The primary proteases responsible for aggrecan cleavage are the aggrecanases, identified as members of the ADAMTS family of proteases, which are upregulated in response to inflammatory stimuli. It is uncertain which of the 6 aggrecanases (ADAMTS-1, -4, -5, -8, -9 and -15) are primarily responsible for the degradation of aggrecan in human cartilage. Here we show that 4 of the 6 aggrecanases are expressed in immortalized chondrocyte cell-lines and can be up-regulated in response to inflammatory cytokines. Using RNA interference, we demonstrate robust knockdown of ADAMTS-5 and -9 expression in these cells, and by culturing them on 3 dimensional scaffolds, show that reduction in expression of ADAMTS-5 enzyme results in an increase in matrix deposition. These data suggest that the quality of tissue-engineered cartilage matrix might be improved by targeted depletion of aggrecanase expression. Moreover, this work also provides further evidence that ADAMTS-5 may be a therapeutic target in the treatment of arthritic disease.
ADAMTS; chondrocyte; cartilage; aggrecanase; knock-down; lentivirus; retrovirus; ECM
The relative contribution of a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS)4 and ADAMTS5 to aggrecan degradation under oncostatin M (OSM) stimulation, the role of the ancillary domains of the aggrecanases on their ability to cleave within the chondroitin sulfate (CS)-2 region, the role of hyaluronidases (HYAL) in stimulating aggrecan release in the absence of proteolysis, and the identity of the hyaluronidase involved in OSM-mediated cartilage breakdown were investigated. Bovine articular cartilage explants were cultured in the presence of interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and/or OSM, or treated with trypsin and/or hyaluronidase. Aggrecan was digested with various domain-truncated isoforms of ADAMTS4 and ADAMTS5. Aggrecan and link protein degradation and release were analyzed by immunoblotting. Aggrecanase and HYAL gene expression were determined. ADAMTS4 was the most inducible aggrecanase upon cytokine stimulation, whereas ADAMTS5 was the most abundant aggrecanase. ADAMTS5 was the most active aggrecanase and was responsible for the generation of an OSM-specific degradation pattern in the CS-2 region. Its ability to cleave at the OSM-specific site adjacent to the aggrecan G3 region was enhanced by truncation of the C-terminal thrombospondin domain, but reduced by further truncation of both the spacer and cysteine-rich domains of the enzyme. OSM has the ability to mediate proteoglycan release through hyaluronan degradation, under conditions where HYAL-2 is the predominant hyaluronidase being expressed. Compared to other catabolic cytokines, OSM exhibits a unique potential at degrading the proteoglycan aggregate, by promoting early robust aggrecanolysis, primarily through the action of ADAMTS5, and hyaluronan degradation.
Cartilage catabolism; proteoglycan aggregate; ADAMTS; hyaluronidase; oncostatin M
Membrane microvesicle shedding is an active process and occurs in viable cells with no signs of apoptosis or necrosis. We report here that microvesicles shed by oligodendroglioma cells contain an ‘aggrecanase’ activity, cleaving aggrecan at sites previously identified as targets for adamalysin metalloproteinases with disintegrin and thrombospondin domains (ADAMTSs). Degradation was inhibited by EDTA, the metalloproteinase inhibitor GM6001 and by tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP)-3, but not by TIMP-1 or TIMP-2. This inhibitor profile indicates that the shed microvesicles contain aggrecanolytic ADAMTS(s) or related TIMP-3-sensitive metalloproteinase(s). The oligodendroglioma cells were shown to express the three most active aggrecanases, namely Adamts1, Adamts4 and Adamts5, suggesting that one or more of these enzymes may be responsible for the microvesicle activity. Microvesicles shed by rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts similarly degraded aggrecan in a TIMP-3-sensitive manner. Our findings raise the novel possibility that microvesicles may assist oligodendroglioma and rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts to invade through aggrecan-rich extracellular matrices.
► Microvesicles are shed by numerous cell types. ► We isolated microvesicles shed by oligrodendroglioma and rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts. ► These microvesicles contained an aggrecan-degrading proteolytic activity. ► Microvesicles may thus assist cells in degrading aggrecan-rich extracellular matrices.
ADAM, adamalysin; ADAMTS, a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs; ECM, extracellular matrix; MEF, mouse embryonic fibroblasts; MMP, matrix metalloproteinase; MVs, microvesicles; RA, rheumatoid arthritis; TIMP, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase; Membrane vesicles; Aggrecan; Metalloproteinase; ADAMTS
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.
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
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.
a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS); aggrecanase; collagenase; metalloproteinase; osteoarthritis; tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 3 (TIMP-3)
The objective of this study was to determine the role of β-catenin in normal postnatal articular cartilage growth and degeneration.
We investigated β-catenin gene and protein expression in hip cartilage cells of normal Wistar rats at two, four, six and eight weeks of age by using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry. Primary articular chondrocytes from eight week old rats were cultured and treated with LiCl for activation of β-catenin. Collagen X and matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP-13) were detected by quantitative RT-PCR and immunofluorescence. A disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS)-4 and 5 were detected by quantitative RT-PCR, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labelling (TUNEL) was used for detecting cell apoptosis.
The highest levels of β-catenin expressions were detected in two week old rats, after which a steady decline was observed over the remaining period of observation (p < 0.05). When primary articular chondrocytes from eight week old rats were treated with LiCl, β-catenin mRNA and protein were induced (p < 0.05). Moreover, LiCl-activated β-catenin in chondrocytes was associated with significant concomitant increases in mRNA expression of collagen X and the MMP-13 encoding collagenase 3. Significantly increased mRNA expression of ADAMTS-5 was also seen in primary chondrocytes from eight week old rats after LiCl treatment (p < 0.05). The effect was specific to ADAMTS-5 since ADAMTS-4, which has similar proteolytic activity but different aggrecanase activity, was unaffected. Finally, TUNEL staining revealed that LiCl-activated β-catenin signalling led to increased cell apoptotic events in chondrocytes (p < 0.05).
Our findings suggest that normal spatiotemporal patterns and degrees of Wnt/β-catenin signalling are needed to maintain postnatal articular cartilage growth and function. In the early stages of cartilage development, activation of β-catenin signalling is necessary for articular cartilage growth, while in adult cartilage it leads to degeneration and osteoarthritic-like chondrocytes.
Primary osteoarthritis (OA) is a musculoskeletal disorder of unknown etiology. OA is characterized by an imbalance between anabolism and catabolism in, and altered homeostasis of articular cartilage. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motif are upregulated in OA joints. Extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins are critical for resistance to compressive forces and for maintaining the tensile properties of the tissue. Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) is the endogenous inhibitor of MMPs, but in OA, TIMPs do not effectively neutralize MMP activity. Upregulation of MMP gene expression occurs in OA in a milieu of proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor α. Presently, the medical therapy of OA includes mainly nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids which dampen pain and inflammation but appear to have little effect on restoring joint function. Experimental interventions to restore the imbalance between anabolism and catabolism include small molecule inhibitors of MMP subtypes or inhibitors of the interaction between IL-1 and its receptor. Although these agents have some positive effects on reducing MMP subtype activity they have little efficacy at the clinical level. MMP-9 is one MMP subtype implicated in the degradation of articular cartilage ECM proteins. MMP-9 was found in OA synovial fluid as a complex with neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) which protected MMP-9 from autodegradation. Suppressing NGAL synthesis or promoting NGAL degradation may result in reducing the activity of MMP-9. We also propose initiating a search for enzyme–protein interactions to dampen other MMP subtype activity which could suppress ECM protein breakdown.
gelatinase; matrix metalloproteinase; neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin; osteoarthritis
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.
There is an increasing body of evidence that synovitis plays a role in the progression of osteoarthritis and that overproduction of cytokines and growth factors from the inflamed synovium can influence the production of degradative enzymes and the destruction of cartilage. In this study, we investigate the role of synovial macrophages and their main proinflammatory cytokines, interleukin (IL)-1 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), in driving osteoarthritis synovitis and influencing the production of other pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, production of matrix metalloproteinases, and expression of aggrecanases in the osteoarthritis synovium. We established a model of cultures of synovial cells from digested osteoarthritis synovium derived from patients undergoing knee or hip arthroplasties. By means of anti-CD14-conjugated magnetic beads, specific depletion of osteoarthritis synovial macrophages from these cultures could be achieved. The CD14+-depleted cultures no longer produced significant amounts of macrophage-derived cytokines like IL-1 and TNF-α. Interestingly, there was also significant downregulation of several cytokines, such as IL-6 and IL-8 (p < 0.001) and matrix metalloproteinases 1 and 3 (p < 0.01), produced chiefly by synovial fibroblasts. To investigate the mechanisms involved, we went on to use specific downregulation of IL-1 and/or TNF-α in these osteoarthritis cultures of synovial cells. The results indicated that neutralisation of both IL-1 and TNF-α was needed to achieve a degree of cytokine (IL-6, IL-8, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1) and matrix metalloproteinase (1, 3, 9, and 13) inhibition, as assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), similar to that observed in CD14+-depleted cultures. Another interesting observation was that in these osteoarthritis cultures of synovial cells, IL-1β production was independent of TNF-α, in contrast to the situation in rheumatoid arthritis. Using RT-PCR, we also demonstrated that whereas the ADAMTS4 (a disintegrin and metalloprotease with thrombospondin motifs 4) aggrecanase was driven mainly by TNF-α, ADAMTS5 was not affected by neutralisation of IL-1 and/or TNF-α. These results suggest that, in the osteoarthritis synovium, both inflammatory and destructive responses are dependent largely on macrophages and that these effects are cytokine-driven through a combination of IL-1 and TNF-α.
OBJECTIVES—Chondrocytic matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are believed to be important in osteoarthritic cartilage degradation. The cartilage lesion of osteoarthritis (OA) is focal and often progressive. During its development chondrocytes differentially up and down regulate production of mRNA for individual MMPs. This observation has potential implications for understanding the disease processes that lead to progressive cartilage loss in OA and designing appropriate targeted treatment. The complex regulation of MMP mediated effects means there is a pressing need to establish whether visualisation of MMP mRNA or protein equates to enzyme activity. The technique of in situ zymography (ISZ) offers a way of examining diseased human tissue for in vivo production of an excess of degrading enzyme over inhibitor. The primary objective of this study was to assess, and if positive follow, collagen II degrading activity in cartilage during development of the OA lesion. A secondary objective was to assess whether there was any correlation between sites of collagen II degrading activity and expression of the collagenase (MMP-13), recently implicated in type II collagen degredation in this lesion.
METHODS—Biopsied human normal and osteoarthritic cartilage, showing various degrees of damage, was examined by in situ zymography, with and without enzyme inhibitors, to establish sites of type II collagenase activity. Paired samples were probed for MMP-13 mRNA using 35S-labelled oligonucleotide probes. Comparative analyses were performed.
RESULTS—In situ zymography showed collagen II degrading activity over chondrocytes only in osteoarthritic cartilage. Distribution and amount varied with the extent of cartilage damage and position of chondrocytes, being greatest in deep cartilage and in cartilage lesions where fissuring was occurring. The enzyme causing the degradation behaved as a matrix metalloproteinase. MMP-13 mRNA expression codistributed with the type II collagenase activity.
CONCLUSION—In OA, chondrocytes can degrade type II collagen. The type II collagen degrading activity varies in site and amount as the cartilage lesion progresses and throughout codistributes with MMP-13 mRNA expression.
Articular cartilage is optimised for bearing mechanical loads. Chondrocytes are the only cells present in mature cartilage and are responsible for the synthesis and integrity of the extracellular matrix. Appropriate joint loads stimulate chondrocytes to maintain healthy cartilage with a concrete protein composition according to loading demands. In contrast, inappropriate loads alter the composition of cartilage, leading to osteoarthritis (OA). Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are involved in degradation of cartilage matrix components and have been implicated in OA, but their role in loading response is unclear. With this study, we aimed to elucidate the role of MMP-1 and MMP-3 in cartilage composition in response to mechanical load and to analyse the differences in aggrecan and type II collagen content in articular cartilage from maximum- and minimum-weight-bearing regions of human healthy and OA hips. In parallel, we analyse the apoptosis of chondrocytes in maximal and minimal load areas. Because human femoral heads are subjected to different loads at defined sites, both areas were obtained from the same hip and subsequently evaluated for differences in aggrecan, type II collagen, MMP-1, and MMP-3 content (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and gene expression (real-time polymerase chain reaction) and for chondrocyte apoptosis (flow cytometry, bcl-2 Western blot, and mitochondrial membrane potential analysis). The results showed that the load reduced the MMP-1 and MMP-3 synthesis (p < 0.05) in healthy but not in OA cartilage. No significant differences between pressure areas were found for aggrecan and type II collagen gene expression levels. However, a trend toward significance, in the aggrecan/collagen II ratio, was found for healthy hips (p = 0.057) upon comparison of pressure areas (loaded areas > non-loaded areas). Moreover, compared with normal cartilage, OA cartilage showed a 10- to 20-fold lower ratio of aggrecan to type II collagen, suggesting that the balance between the major structural proteins is crucial to the integrity and function of the tissue. Alternatively, no differences in apoptosis levels between loading areas were found – evidence that mechanical load regulates cartilage matrix composition but does not affect chondrocyte viability. The results suggest that MMPs play a key role in regulating the balance of structural proteins of the articular cartilage matrix according to local mechanical demands.
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.
WIN-34B; Standard compounds; Cartilage protection; Matrix proteinases; Inflammatory mediators
Orchestration of the growth and remodeling of tissues and responses of cells to their extracellular environment is mediated by metalloproteinases of the Metzincin clan. This group of proteins comprises several families of endopeptidases in which a zinc atom is liganded at the catalytic site to three histidine residues and an invariant methionine residue. Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) are endogenous protein regulators of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs) family, and also of families such as the disintegrin metalloproteinases (ADAM and ADAMTS). TIMPs therefore have a pivotal role in determining the influence of the extracellular matrix, of cell adhesion molecules, and of many cytokines, chemokines and growth factors on cell phenotype. The TIMP family is an ancient one, with a single representative in lower eukaryotes and four members in mammals. Although much is known about their mechanism of action in proteinase regulation in mammalian cells, less is known about their functions in lower organisms. Recently, non-inhibitory functions of TIMPs have been identified in mammalian cells, including signaling roles downstream of specific receptors. There are clearly still questions to be answered with regard to their overall roles in biology.
As we previously reported, ADAMTS-7 and ADAMTS-12, two members of ADAMTS (adisintegrin and metalloprotease with thrombospondin motifs) family, degrade COMP in vitro and are significantly induced in the cartilage and synovium of arthritic patients. The purpose of this study was to determine 1) whether cleavage activity of ADAMTS-7 and -12 of COMP are associated with COMP degradation in osteoarthritis; 2) whether a2M is a novel substrate for ADAMTS-7 and -12; and 3) whether a2M inhibits ADAMTS-7 or -12 cleavage of COMP.
An in vitro digestion assay was used to examine the degradation of COMP by ADAMTS-7 and ADAMTS-12 in the cartilage of OA patients; in cartilage explants incubated with TNF-α or IL-1β with or without blocking antibodies; and in human chondrocytes treated with specific siRNA to knock down ADAMTS-7 or/and-12. Digestion of alpha-2-macroglobulin (a2M) by ADAMTS-7 and -12 in vitro and the inhibition of ADAMTS-7 or -12-mediated digestion of COMP by α2M were also analyzed.
The molecular mass of the COMP fragments produced by either ADAMTS-7 or ADAMTS-12 were similar to those observed in OA patients. Specific blocking antibodies against ADAMTS-7 and ADAMTS-12 dramatically inhibited TNF-α- or IL-1β-induced COMP degradation in the cultured cartilage explants. The suppression of ADAMTS-7 or ADAMTS-12 expression by siRNA silencing in the human chondrocytes also prevented TNF-α- or IL-1β-induced COMP degradation. Both ADAMTS-7 and ADAMTS-12 were able to cleave α2M, giving rise to 180 and 105 kDa cleavage products, respectively. Furthermore, α2M inhibited both ADAMTS-7- and ADAMTS-12-mediated COMP degradation in a concentration (or dose)-dependent manner.
Our observations demonstrate the importance of COMP degradation by ADAMTS-7 and ADAMTS-12 in vivo. Furthermore, α2M is a novel substrate for ADAMTS-7 and ADAMTS-12. More significantly, α2M represents the first endogenous inhibitor of ADAMTS-7 and ADAMTS-12.