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1.  Subchondral bone influences chondrogenic differentiation and collagen production of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells and articular chondrocytes 
Introduction
Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by an imbalance in cartilage and underlying subchondral bone homeostasis. We hypothesized that signals from the subchondral bone may modulate production of matrix components, alter chondrogenic differentiation potential of cocultured bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSC) and induce a phenotypic shift in differentiated OA chondrocytes.
Methods
We established a novel coculture model between BMSC, mixed cultures (BMSC and chondrocytes) and chondrocytes embedded in fibrin gel with OA and normal subchondral bone explants (OAB and NB). Tissues and cells were either derived from OA or trauma patients. In addition, we used adipose-derived stem cells (ASC) from liposuction. With gene expression analysis, biochemical assays, immunofluorescence and biomechanical tests we characterized the properties of newly generated extracellular matrix (ECM) from chondrocytes and chondrogenically differentiating BMSC cocultured with OAB or NB in comparison with monocultures (cultures without bone explants).
Results
Overall, gene expression of collagens of OAB and NB cocultured cells was reduced compared to monocultures. Concomitantly, we observed significantly lower collagen I, II and III and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) production in OAB cocultured cell lysates. In parallel, we detected increased concentrations of soluble GAGs and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 in supernatants of OAB and NB cocultures mainly at early time points. IL-1ß concentration was increased in supernatants of OAB cocultures, but not in NB cocultures. Cell-free NB or OAB explants released different amounts of IL-1ß, bFGF and soluble GAG into cell culture supernatants. In comparison to cocultures, monocultures exhibited higher Young’s modulus and equilibrium modulus. Stimulation of monocultures with IL-1ß led to a downregulation of aggrecan (ACAN) gene expression and in general to induced matrix metalloprotease (MMP)2, MMP3 and MMP-13 gene expression while IL-6 and IL-8 stimulation partly reduced ACAN, MMP3 and MMP-13 gene expression.
Conclusions
Our results suggest an alteration of molecular composition and mechanical properties of the newly formed ECM in subchondral bone cocultures. We suggest that soluble factors, that is interleukins and bFGF, released in cocultures exert inhibitory effects on collagen and temporary effects on proteoglycan production, which finally results in a reduction of mechanical strength of newly formed fibrillar networks.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13075-014-0453-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13075-014-0453-9
PMCID: PMC4209060  PMID: 25296561
2.  Melanocortin 1 Receptor-Signaling Deficiency Results in an Articular Cartilage Phenotype and Accelerates Pathogenesis of Surgically Induced Murine Osteoarthritis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e105858.
Proopiomelanocortin-derived peptides exert pleiotropic effects via binding to melanocortin receptors (MCR). MCR-subtypes have been detected in cartilage and bone and mediate an increasing number of effects in diathrodial joints. This study aims to determine the role of MC1-receptors (MC1) in joint physiology and pathogenesis of osteoarthritis (OA) using MC1-signaling deficient mice (Mc1re/e). OA was surgically induced in Mc1re/e and wild-type (WT) mice by transection of the medial meniscotibial ligament. Histomorphometry of Safranin O stained articular cartilage was performed with non-operated controls (11 weeks and 6 months) and 4/8 weeks past surgery. µCT–analysis for assessing epiphyseal bone architecture was performed as a longitudinal study at 4/8 weeks after OA-induction. Collagen II, ICAM-1 and MC1 expression was analysed by immunohistochemistry. Mc1re/e mice display less Safranin O and collagen II stained articular cartilage area compared to WT prior to OA-induction without signs of spontaneous cartilage surface erosion. This MC1-signaling deficiency related cartilage phenotype persisted in 6 month animals. At 4/8 weeks after OA-induction cartilage erosions were increased in Mc1re/e knees paralleled by weaker collagen II staining. Prior to OA-induction, Mc1re/e mice do not differ from WT with respect to bone parameters. During OA, Mc1re/e mice developed more osteophytes and had higher epiphyseal bone density and mass. Trabecular thickness was increased while concomitantly trabecular separation was decreased in Mc1re/e mice. Numbers of ICAM-positive chondrocytes were equal in non-operated 11 weeks Mc1re/e and WT whereas number of positive chondrocytes decreased during OA-progression. Unchallenged Mc1re/e mice display smaller articular cartilage covered area without OA-related surface erosions indicating that MC1-signaling is critical for proper cartilage matrix integrity and formation. When challenged with OA, Mc1re/e mice develop a more severe OA-pathology. Our data suggest that MC1-signaling protects against cartilage degradation and subchondral bone sclerosis in OA indicating a beneficial role of the POMC system in joint pathophysiology.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105858
PMCID: PMC4156302  PMID: 25191747
3.  Tissue-Engineering Strategies to Repair Chondral and Osteochondral Tissue in Osteoarthritis: Use of Mesenchymal Stem Cells 
Current Rheumatology Reports  2014;16(10):452.
Focal chondral or osteochondral lesions can be painful and disabling because they have insufficient intrinsic repair potential, and constitute one of the major extrinsic risk factors for osteoarthritis (OA). Attention has, therefore, been paid to regenerative therapeutic procedures for the early treatment of cartilaginous defects. Current treatments for OA are not regenerative and have little effect on the progressive degeneration of joint tissue. One major reason for this underrepresentation of regenerative therapy is that approaches to treating OA with cell-based strategies have to take into consideration the larger sizes of the defects, as compared with isolated focal articular-cartilage defects, and the underlying disease process. Here, we review current treatment strategies using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for chondral and osteochondral tissue repair in trauma and OA-affected joints. We discuss tissue-engineering approaches, in preclinical large-animal models and clinical studies in humans, which use crude bone-marrow aspirates and MSCs from different tissue sources in combination with bioactive agents and materials.
doi:10.1007/s11926-014-0452-5
PMCID: PMC4182613  PMID: 25182680
Osteoarthritis; Trauma; Cartilage; Focal defect; Clinical; Preclinical; Animal model; Ovine; Porcine; Equine; Chondral; Osteochondral; Hyaline; Mesenchymal stem cells; Platelet-rich plasma; Bone-marrow concentrate; Tissue engineering; Collagen; Fibrin gel
4.  Osteoarthritic cartilage explants affect extracellular matrix production and composition in cocultured bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells and articular chondrocytes 
Introduction
In the present study, we established a novel in vitro coculture model to evaluate the influence of osteoarthritis (OA) cartilage explants on the composition of newly produced matrix and chondrogenic differentiation of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) and the phenotype of OA chondrocytes. In addition, we included a “tri-culture” model, whereby a mixture of BMSCs and chondrocytes was cultured on the surface of OA cartilage explants.
Methods
Gene expression analysis, protein and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) assays, dot-blot, immunofluorescence, and biomechanical tests were used to characterize the properties of newly generated extracellular matrix (ECM) from chondrocytes and chondrogenically differentiated BMSCs and a mix thereof. We compared articular cartilage explant cocultures with BMSCs, chondrocytes, and mixed cultures (chondrocytes and BMSCs 1:1) embedded in fibrin gels with fibrin gel-embedded cells cultured without cartilage explants (monocultures).
Results
In general, co- and tri-cultured cell regimens exhibited reduced mRNA and protein levels of collagens I, II, III, and X in comparison with monocultures, whereas no changes in GAG synthesis were observed. All co- and tri-culture regimens tended to exhibit lower Young’s and equilibrium modulus compared with monocultures. In contrast, aggregate modulus and hydraulic permeability seemed to be higher in co- and tri-cultures. Supernatants of cocultures contained significant higher levels of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), IL-6, and IL-8. Stimulation of monocultures with IL-1β and IL-6 reduced collagen gene expression in BMSCs and mixed cultures in general but was often upregulated in chondrocytes at late culture time points. IL-8 stimulation affected BMSCs only.
Conclusions
Our results suggest an inhibitory effect of OA cartilage on the production of collagens. This indicates a distinct modulatory influence that affects the collagen composition of the de novo-produced ECM from co- and tri-cultured cells and leads to impaired mechanical and biochemical properties of the matrix because of an altered fibrillar network. We suggest that soluble factors, including IL-1β and IL-6, released from OA cartilage partly mediate these effects. Thus, neighbored OA cartilage provides inhibitory signals with respect to BMSCs’ chondrogenic differentiation and matrix composition, which need to be accounted for in future cell-based OA treatment strategies.
doi:10.1186/scrt466
PMCID: PMC4097830  PMID: 24916039
5.  Collagen XVI Induces Expression of MMP9 via Modulation of AP-1 Transcription Factors and Facilitates Invasion of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86777.
Collagen XVI belongs to the family of fibril-associated collagens with interrupted triple helices (FACIT). It is overexpressed during the progression of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). The present data show a strong collagen XVI-dependent induction of MMP9 and an increase in OSCC cell invasion. We found activated integrin-linked kinase (ILK) in a complex with kindlin-1 and activation of protein kinase B (PKB/Akt) to be responsible for MMP9 induction. Inhibition of the formation of focal adhesions reduced MMP9 expression. Moreover, collagen XVI overexpressing OSCC cell clones (COLXVI cell clones) transfected with vectors containing different MMP9 promoter fragments adjacent to a luciferase reporter revealed an increase in luciferase signal dependent on AP-1 binding sites. Deletion of the AP-1 binding site 98 bp upstream of the reported transcription start site and inhibition of AP-1 with Tanshinone IIA resulted in decreased MMP9 expression. The AP-1 subunit JunB showed differential expression between COLXVI cell clones and mock control cells. Additionally, mass spectrometric analysis of immunoprecipitates revealed that c-Fos interacted strongly with dyskerin in COLXVI cell clones compared to mock controls.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086777
PMCID: PMC3900656  PMID: 24466237
6.  The oncofetal gene survivin is re-expressed in osteoarthritis and is required for chondrocyte proliferation in vitro 
Background
Regulation of cell death and cell division are key processes during chondrogenesis and in cartilage homeostasis and pathology. The oncogene survivin is considered to be critical for the coordination of mitosis and maintenance of cell viability during embryonic development and in cancer, and is not detectable in most adult differentiated tissues and cells. We analyzed survivin expression in osteoarthritic cartilage and its function in primary human chondrocytes in vitro.
Methods
Survivin expression was analyzed by immunoblotting and quantitative real-time PCR. The localization was visualized by immunofluorescence. Survivin functions in vitro were investigated by transfection of a specific siRNA.
Results
Survivin was expressed in human osteoarthritic cartilage, but was not detectable in macroscopically and microscopically unaffected cartilage of osteoarthritic knee joints. In primary human chondrocyte cultures, survivin was localized to heterogeneous subcellular compartments. Suppression of survivin resulted in inhibition of cell cycle progression and sensitization toward apoptotic stimuli in vitro.
Conclusions
The present study indicates a role for survivin in osteoarthritic cartilage and human chondrocytes. In vitro experiments indicated its involvement in cellular division and viability. Learning more about the functions of survivin in chondrocyte biology might further help toward understanding and modulating the complex processes of cartilage pathology and regeneration.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-150
PMCID: PMC3141611  PMID: 21729321
apoptosis; chondrocyte; osteoarthritis; proliferation; survivin
7.  Tumor necrosis factor and norepinephrine lower the levels of human neutrophil peptides 1-3 secretion by mixed synovial tissue cultures in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(3):R110.
Introduction
Neutrophils and monocytes play an important role in overt inflammation in chronic inflammatory joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) inhibits many neutrophil/monocyte functions and macrophage tumor necrosis factor (TNF), but because of the loss of sympathetic nerve fibers in inflamed tissue, sympathetic control is attenuated. In this study, we focused on noradrenergic and TNF regulation of human neutrophil peptides 1-3 (HNP1-3), which are proinflammatory bactericidal α-defensins.
Methods
Synovial tissue and cells were obtained from patients with RA and osteoarthritis (OA). By using immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence, HNP1-3 were tracked in the tissue. With synovial cell-culture experiments and ELISA, effects of norepinephrine, TNF, and cortisol on HNP1-3 were detected.
Results
HNP1-3 were abundantly expressed in the synovial lining and adjacent sublining area but not in deeper layers of synovial tissue. The human β-defensin-2, used as control, was hardly detectable in the tissue and in supernatants. HNP1-3 double-stained with neutrophils but not with macrophages, fibroblasts, T/B lymphocytes, and mast cells. Norepinephrine dose-dependently decreased HNP1-3 levels from RA and OA cells. TNF also inhibited HNP1-3 levels from OA but not from RA cells. Cortisol inhibited HNP1-3 levels only in OA patients. A combination of norepinephrine and cortisol did not show additive or synergistic effects.
Conclusions
This study demonstrated an inhibitory effect of norepinephrine on HNP1-3 of mixed synovial cells. In light of these findings, the loss of sympathetic nerve fibers with low resting norepinephrine levels might also augment the inflammatory process through HNP1-3.
doi:10.1186/ar3044
PMCID: PMC2911901  PMID: 20525314
8.  Modulation of cartilage differentiation by melanoma inhibiting activity/cartilage-derived retinoic acid-sensitive protein (MIA/CD-RAP) 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2010;42(3):166-174.
Melanoma inhibiting activity/cartilage-derived retinoic acid-sensitive protein (MIA/CD-RAP) is a small soluble protein secreted from malignant melanoma cells and from chondrocytes. Recently, we revealed that MIA/CD-RAP can modulate bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)2-induced osteogenic differentiation into a chondrogenic direction. In the current study we aimed to find the molecular details of this MIA/CD-RAP function. Direct influence of MIA on BMP2 by protein-protein-interaction or modulating SMAD signaling was ruled out experimentally. Instead, we revealed inhibition of ERK signaling by MIA/CD-RAP. This inhibition is regulated via binding of MIA/CD-RAP to integrin α5 and abolishing its activity. Active ERK signaling is known to block chondrogenic differentiation and we revealed induction of aggrecan expression in chondrocytes by treatment with MIA/CD-RAP or PD098059, an ERK inhibitor. In in vivo models we could support the role of MIA/CD-RAP in influencing osteogenic differentiation negatively. Further, MIA/CD-RAP-deficient mice revealed an enhanced calcified cartilage layer of the articular cartilage of the knee joint and disordered arrangement of chondrocytes. Taken together, our data indicate that MIA/CD-RAP stabilizes cartilage differentiation and inhibits differentiation into bone potentially by regulating signaling processes during differentiation.
doi:10.3858/emm.2010.42.3.017
PMCID: PMC2845001  PMID: 20164682
Bone morphogenetic protein 2; cartilage; cell differentiation; chondrocytes; MIA protein, human
9.  Altered Integration of Matrilin-3 into Cartilage Extracellular Matrix in the Absence of Collagen IX 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(23):10465-10478.
The matrilins are a family of four noncollagenous oligomeric extracellular matrix proteins with a modular structure. Matrilins can act as adapters which bridge different macromolecular networks. We therefore investigated the effect of collagen IX deficiency on matrilin-3 integration into cartilage tissues. Mice harboring a deleted Col9a1 gene lack synthesis of a functional protein and produce cartilage fibrils completely devoid of collagen IX. Newborn collagen IX knockout mice exhibited significantly decreased matrilin-3 and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) signals, particularly in the cartilage primordium of vertebral bodies and ribs. In the absence of collagen IX, a substantial amount of matrilin-3 is released into the medium of cultured chondrocytes instead of being integrated into the cell layer as in wild-type and COMP-deficient cells. Gene expression of matrilin-3 is not affected in the absence of collagen IX, but protein extraction from cartilage is greatly facilitated. Matrilin-3 interacts with collagen IX-containing cartilage fibrils, while fibrils from collagen IX knockout mice lack matrilin-3, and COMP-deficient fibrils exhibit an intermediate integration. In summary, the integration of matrilin-3 into cartilage fibrils occurs both by a direct interaction with collagen IX and indirectly with COMP serving as an adapter. Matrilin-3 can be considered as an interface component, capable of interconnecting macromolecular networks and mediating interactions between cartilage fibrils and the extrafibrillar matrix.
doi:10.1128/MCB.25.23.10465-10478.2005
PMCID: PMC1291247  PMID: 16287859

Results 1-9 (9)