Regulation of the friction coefficient of articular cartilage by TGF-beta1 and IL-1beta.

Center for Tissue Regeneration and Repair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, Davis, Medical Center, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.
Journal of Orthopaedic Research (Impact Factor: 2.88). 09/2008; 27(2):249-56. DOI: 10.1002/jor.20713
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Articular cartilage functions to provide a low-friction surface for joint movement for many decades of life. Superficial zone protein (SZP) is a glycoprotein secreted by chondrocytes in the superficial layer of articular cartilage that contributes to effective boundary lubrication. In both cell and explant cultures, TGF-beta1 and IL-1beta have been demonstrated to, respectively, upregulate and downregulate SZP protein levels. It was hypothesized that the friction coefficient of articular cartilage could also be modulated by these cytokines through SZP regulation. The friction coefficient between cartilage explants (both untreated and treated with TGF-beta1 or IL-1beta) and a smooth glass surface due to sliding in the boundary lubrication regime was measured with a pin-on-disk tribometer. SZP was quantified using an enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay and localized by immunohistochemistry. Both TGF-beta1 and IL-1beta treatments resulted in the decrease of the friction coefficient of articular cartilage in a location- and time-dependent manner. Changes in the friction coefficient due to the TGF-beta1 treatment corresponded to increased depth of SZP staining within the superficial zone, while friction coefficient changes due to the IL-1beta treatment were independent of SZP depth of staining. However, the changes induced by the IL-1beta treatment corresponded to changes in surface roughness, determined from the analysis of surface images obtained with an atomic force microscope. These findings demonstrate that the low friction of articular cartilage can be modified by TGF-beta1 and IL-1beta treatment and that the friction coefficient depends on multiple factors, including SZP localization and surface roughness.

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    ABSTRACT: The central hypothesis of functional tissue engineering is that an engineered construct can serve as a viable replacement tissue in vivo by replicating the structure and function of native tissue. In the case of articular cartilage, this requires the reproduction of the bulk mechanical and surface lubrication properties of native hyaline cartilage. Cartilage tissue engineering has primarily focused on achieving the bulk mechanical properties of native cartilage such as the compressive aggregate modulus and tensile strength. A scaffold-free, self-assembling process has been developed that produces engineered cartilage with compressive properties approaching native tissue levels. Thus, the next step in this process is to begin addressing the friction coefficient and wear properties of these engineered constructs. Superficial zone protein (SZP), also known as lubricin or PRG4, is a boundary mode lubricant that is synthesized by surface zone articular chondrocytes. Under conditions of high loading and low sliding speeds, SZP reduces friction and wear at the articular surface. The objective of this investigation was to determine whether increasing the proportion of surface zone chondrocytes in cartilage constructs, in the absence of external stimuli such as growth factors and mechanical loading, would enhance the secretion of SZP and improve their frictional properties. In this study, cartilage constructs were engineered through a self-assembling process with varying ratios of surface zone (SZ) and middle zone (MZ) chondrocytes (SZ:MZ): 0:100, 25:75, 50:50, 75:25, and 100:0. Constructs containing different ratios of SZ and MZ chondrocytes did not significantly differ in glycosaminoglycan composition or compressive aggregate modulus. In contrast, tensile properties and collagen content were enhanced in nearly all constructs containing greater amounts of SZ chondrocytes. Increasing the proportion of SZ chondrocytes had the hypothesized effect of improving the synthesis and secretion of SZP. However, increasing the SZ chondrocyte fraction did not significantly reduce the friction coefficient. These results demonstrate that additional factors; such as SZP-binding macromolecules, surface roughness, and adhesion; need to be examined in order to modulate the lubrication properties of engineered cartilage.
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