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1.  A microarray analysis of full depth knee cartilage of ovariectomized rats 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:63.
Background
This short communication focuses the on articular cartilage and the subchondral bone, both of which play important roles in the development of osteoarthritis (OA). There are indications that estrogen-deficiency, as the post-menopausal state, accelerate the development of OA.
Findings
We investigated, which extracellular matrix (ECM) protein, proteases and different pro-inflammatory factors was up- or down-regulated in the knee joint tissue in response to estrogen-deficiency in rats induced by ovariectomy. These data support previous findings that several metalloproteinases (MMPs) and cysteine proteases are co-regulated with numerous collagens and proteoglycans that are important for cartilage integrity. Furthermore quite a few pro-inflammatory cytokines were regulated by estrogen deprivation.
Conclusion
We found multiple genes where regulated in the joint by estrogen-deficiency, many of which correspond well with our current knowledge of the pathogenesis of OA. It supports that estrogen-deficiency (e.g. OVX) may accelerate joint deterioration. However, there are also data that draw attention the need for better understanding of the synergy between proteases and tissue turnover.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-63
PMCID: PMC3068969  PMID: 21406075
2.  Identification of the calcitonin receptor in osteoarthritic chondrocytes 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:407.
Background
Preclinical and clinical studies have shown that salmon calcitonin has cartilage protective effects in joint degenerative diseases, such as osteoarthritis (OA). However, the presence of the calcitonin receptor (CTR) in articular cartilage chondrocytes is yet to be identified. In this study, we sought to further investigate the expression of the CTR in naïve human OA articular chondrocytes to gain further confirmation of the existents of the CTR in articular cartilage.
Methods
Total RNA was purified from primary chondrocytes from articular cartilage biopsies from four OA patients undergoing total knee replacement. High quality cDNA was produced using a dedicated reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) protocol. From this a nested PCR assay amplifying the full coding region of the CTR mRNA was completed. Western blotting and immunohistochemistry were used to characterize CTR protein on protein level in chondrocytes.
Results
The full coding transcript of the CTR isoform 2 was identified in all four individuals. DNA sequencing revealed a number of allelic variants of the gene including two potentially novel polymorphisms: a frame shift mutation, +473del, producing a shorter form of the receptor protein, and a single nucleotide polymorphism in the 3' non coding region of the transcript, +1443 C>T. A 53 kDa protein band, consistent with non-glycosylated CTR isoform 2, was detected in chondrocytes with a similar size to that expressed in osteoclasts. Moreover the CTR was identified in the plasma membrane and the chondrocyte lacuna of both primary chondrocytes and OA cartilage section.
Conclusions
Human OA articular cartilage chondrocytes do indeed express the CTR, which makes the articular a pharmacological target of salmon calcitonin. In addition, the results support previous findings suggesting that calcitonin has a direct anabolic effect on articular cartilage.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-407
PMCID: PMC3214920  PMID: 21996094
3.  Suppression of MMP activity in bovine cartilage explants cultures has little if any effect on the release of aggrecanase-derived aggrecan fragments 
BMC Research Notes  2009;2:259.
Background
Progressive loss of articular cartilage is a central hallmark in many joint disease, however, the relative importance of individual proteolytic pathways leading to cartilage erosion is at present unknown. We therefore investigated the time-dependant release ex vivo of MMP- and aggrecanase-derived fragments of aggrecan and type II collagen into the supernatant of bovine cartilage explants cultures using neo-epitope specific immunoassays, and to associate the release of these fragments with the activity of proteolytic enzymes using inhibitors.
Findings
Bovine cartilage explants were cultured in the presence or absence of the catabolic cytokines oncostatin M (OSM) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα). In parallel, explants were co-cultured with protease inhibitors such as GM6001, TIMP1, TIMP2 and TIMP3. Fragments released into the supernatant were determined using a range of neo-epitope specific immunoassays; (1) sandwich 342FFGVG-G2 ELISA, (2) competition NITEGE373ELISA (3) sandwich G1-NITEGE373 ELISA (4) competition 374ARGSV ELISA, and (5) sandwich 374ARGSV-G2 ELISA all detecting aggrecan fragments, and (6) sandwich CTX-II ELISA, detecting C-telopeptides of type II collagen. We found that (1) aggrecanase-derived aggrecan fragments are released in the early (day 2-7) and mid phase (day 9-14) into the supernatant from bovine explants cultures stimulated with catabolic cytokines, (2) the release of NITEGE373 neo-epitopes are delayed compared to the corresponding 374ARGSV fragments, (3) the MMP inhibitor GM6001 did not reduce the release of aggrecanase-derived fragment, but induced a further delay in the release of these fragments, and finally (4) the MMP-derived aggrecan and type II collagen fragments were released in the late phase (day 16-21) only.
Conclusion
Our data support the model, that aggrecanases and MMPs act independently in the processing of the aggrecan molecules, and furthermore that suppression of MMP-activity had little if any effect on the quantity of aggrecanase-derived fragments released from explants cultures.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-2-259
PMCID: PMC2803187  PMID: 20021645

Results 1-3 (3)