Mechanical signals control SOX-9, VEGF, and c-Myc expression and cell proliferation during inflammation via integrin-linked kinase, B-Raf, and ERK1/2-dependent signaling in articular chondrocytes

Biomechanics and Tissue Engineering Laboratory, The Ohio State University, Postle Hall, 305 W 12th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.
Arthritis research & therapy (Impact Factor: 3.75). 05/2010; 12(3):R106. DOI: 10.1186/ar3039
Source: PubMed


The importance of mechanical signals in normal and inflamed cartilage is well established. Chondrocytes respond to changes in the levels of proinflammatory cytokines and mechanical signals during inflammation. Cytokines like interleukin (IL)-1beta suppress homeostatic mechanisms and inhibit cartilage repair and cell proliferation. However, matrix synthesis and chondrocyte (AC) proliferation are upregulated by the physiological levels of mechanical forces. In this study, we investigated intracellular mechanisms underlying reparative actions of mechanical signals during inflammation.
ACs isolated from articular cartilage were exposed to low/physiologic levels of dynamic strain in the presence of IL-1beta. The cell extracts were probed for differential activation/inhibition of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) signaling cascade. The regulation of gene transcription was examined by real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Mechanoactivation, but not IL-1beta treatment, of ACs initiated integrin-linked kinase activation. Mechanical signals induced activation and subsequent C-Raf-mediated activation of MAP kinases (MEK1/2). However, IL-1beta activated B-Raf kinase activity. Dynamic strain did not induce B-Raf activation but instead inhibited IL-1beta-induced B-Raf activation. Both mechanical signals and IL-1beta induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation but discrete gene expression. ERK1/2 activation by mechanical forces induced SRY-related protein-9 (SOX-9), vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF), and c-Myc mRNA expression and AC proliferation. However, IL-1beta did not induce SOX-9, VEGF, and c-Myc gene expression and inhibited AC cell proliferation. More importantly, SOX-9, VEGF, and Myc gene transcription and AC proliferation induced by mechanical signals were sustained in the presence of IL-1beta.
The findings suggest that mechanical signals may sustain their effects in proinflammatory environments by regulating key molecules in the MAP kinase signaling cascade. Furthermore, the findings point to the potential of mechanosignaling in cartilage repair during inflammation.

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Available from: Priyangi M Perera, Oct 02, 2015
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    • "Pro-inflammatory mediators inhibit homeostatic mechanisms and supress cartilage repair and chondrocyte viability. However, the physiological levels of mechanical forces induce matrix synthesis and chondrocyte proliferation (65). Previous studies have suggested that VEGF, an important synovial and cartilage vascularization factor (66), appears to also be involved in the process of OA (67), and can be induced by mechanical forces to ERK1/2 activation for sustaining the effects of mechanical signals for mechanisms underlying reparative actions. "
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    ABSTRACT: MicroRNA (miR)-146a is known to be overexpressed in osteoarthritis (OA). However, the role of miR-146a in OA has not yet been fully elucidated. In the present study, we applied mechanical pressure of 10 MPa to human chondrocytes for 60 min in order to investigate the expression of miR-146a and apoptosis following the mechanical pressure injury. Normal human chondrocytes were transfected with an miR-146a mimic or an inhibitor to regulate miR-146a expression. Potential target genes of miR-146a were predicted using bioinformatics. Moreover, luciferase reporter assay confirmed that Smad4 was a direct target of miR-146a. The expression levels of miR-146a, Smad4 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were quantified by quantitative reverse transcription PCR and/or western blot analysis. The effects of miR-146a on apoptosis were detected by Annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)/propidium iodide (PI) flow cytometry. The results indicated that mechanical pressure affected chondrocyte viability and induced the early apoptosis of chondrocytes. Mechanical pressure injury increased the expression levels of miR-146a and VEGF and decreased the levels of Smad4 in the chondrocytes. In the human chondrocytes, the upregulation of miR-146a induced apoptosis, upregulated VEGF expression and downregulated Smad4 expression. In addition, the knockdown of miR-146a reduced cell apoptosis, upregulated Smad4 expression and downregulated VEGF expression. Smad4 was identified as a direct target of miR-146a by harboring a miR‑146a binding sequence in the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of its mRNA. Furthermore, the upregulation of VEGF induced by miR‑146a was mediated by Smad4 in the chondrocytes subjected to mechanical pressure injury. These results demonstrated that miR-146a was overexpressed in our chondrocyte model of experimentally induced human mechanical injury, accompanied by the upregulation of VEGF and the downregulation of Smad4 in vitro. Moreover, our data suggest that miR-146a is involved in human chondrocyte apoptosis in response to mechanical injury, and may contribute to the mechanical injury of chondrocytes, as well as to the pathogenesis of OA by increasing the levels of VEGF and damaging the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling pathway through the targeted inhibition of Smad4 in cartilage.
    International Journal of Molecular Medicine 06/2014; 34(2). DOI:10.3892/ijmm.2014.1808 · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    • "Chondrocytes were pre-stimulated with recombinant Wnt3A for 24 hours prior to the application of tensile strain (7.5%, 1Hz) for 30 minutes. A peak strain of 7.5% at a frequency of 1 Hz was applied which is considered to be physiological [24,25]. Although chondrocytes predominantly experience compressive and shear forces in vivo, cells do encounter tensional forces particularly in the superficial zone [24]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Articular cartilage functions in withstanding mechanical loads and provides a lubricating surface for frictionless movement of joints. Osteoarthritis, characterised by cartilage degeneration, develops due to the progressive erosion of structural integrity and eventual loss of functional performance. Osteoarthritis is a multi-factorial disorder; two important risk factors are abnormal mechanical load and genetic predisposition. A single nucleotide polymorphism analysis demonstrated an association of hip osteoarthritis with an Arg324Gly substitution mutation in FrzB, a Wnt antagonist. The purpose of this study was two-fold: to assess whether mechanical stimulation modulates β-catenin signalling and catabolic gene expression in articular chondrocytes, and further to investigate whether there is an interplay of mechanical load and Wnt signalling in mediating a catabolic response. Chondrocytes were pre-stimulated with recombinant Wnt3A for 24 hours prior to the application of tensile strain (7.5%, 1 Hz) for 30 minutes. Activation of Wnt signalling, via β-catenin nuclear translocation and downstream effects including the transcriptional activation of c-jun, c-fos and Lef1, markers of chondrocyte phenotype (type II collagen (col2a1), aggrecan (acan), SOX9) and catabolic genes (MMP3, MMP13, ADAMTS-4, ADAMTS-5) were assessed. Physiological tensile strain induced col2a1, acan and SOX9 transcription. Load-induced acan and SOX9 expression were repressed in the presence of Wnt3A. Load induced partial β-catenin nuclear translocation; there was an additive effect of load and Wnt3A on β-catenin distribution, with both extensive localisation in the nucleus and cytoplasm. Immediate early response (c-jun) and catabolic genes (MMP3, ADAMTS-4) were up-regulated in Wnt3A stimulated chondrocytes. With load and Wnt3A there was an additive up-regulation of c-fos, MMP3 and ADAMTS-4 transcription, whereas there was a synergistic interplay on c-jun, Lef1 and ADAMTS-5 transcription. Our data suggest that load and Wnt, in combination, can repress transcription of chondrocyte matrix genes, whilst enhancing expression of catabolic mediators. Future studies will investigate the respective roles of abnormal loading and genetic predisposition in mediating cartilage degeneration.
    Arthritis research & therapy 12/2011; 13(6):R203. DOI:10.1186/ar3536 · 3.75 Impact Factor
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    • "For example, anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10), growth factors (TGFβ, IGF-1, and FGF-2) and transcriptional regulators (CITED2) synergise with mechanical stimuli and enhance the production of matrix components [144, 145, 154, 160]. Furthermore, physiological mechanical signals antagonise the effects of catabolic mediators involving pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β), transcription factors (NFκB), MAPKs, and enzymes (NOS, COX, and MMPs) [133–135, 161, 162]. Mechanical stimulation will increase tension at the cell surface and activate the integrins which are bound to several matrix proteins. "
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    ABSTRACT: There is an urgent demand for long term solutions to improve osteoarthritis treatments in the ageing population. There are drugs that control the pain but none that stop the progression of the disease in a safe and efficient way. Increased intervention efforts, augmented by early diagnosis and integrated biophysical therapies are therefore needed. Unfortunately, progress has been hampered due to the wide variety of experimental models which examine the effect of mechanical stimuli and inflammatory mediators on signal transduction pathways. Our understanding of the early mechanopathophysiology is poor, particularly the way in which mechanical stimuli influences cell function and regulates matrix synthesis. This makes it difficult to identify reliable targets and design new therapies. In addition, the effect of mechanical loading on matrix turnover is dependent on the nature of the mechanical stimulus. Accumulating evidence suggests that moderate mechanical loading helps to maintain cartilage integrity with a low turnover of matrix constituents. In contrast, nonphysiological mechanical signals are associated with increased cartilage damage and degenerative changes. This review will discuss the pathways regulated by compressive loading regimes and inflammatory signals in animal and in vitro 3D models. Identification of the chondroprotective pathways will reveal novel targets for osteoarthritis treatments.
    09/2011; 2011(6):979032. DOI:10.1155/2011/979032
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