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Arthritis Rheum. 2003 Mar;48(3):689-99.

Microenvironment regulation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase activity in chondrocytes: effects of culture configuration, interleukin-1, and compressive stress.

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  • 1Whitaker Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, 92093, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity in response to interleukin-1 (IL-1) in chondrocytes under various culture configurations designed for the study of cartilage biology and repair, and also in response to dynamic load for chondrocytes in cartilage.

METHODS:

Isolated bovine articular chondrocytes were maintained in serum-supplemented medium under 4 culture configurations: high-density monolayer, attached to a cut surface of cartilage, within tissue-engineered constructs, or within intact cartilage explants. Samples were subjected to a change of medium with or without IL-1. Cartilage explants were also subjected to dynamic compression.

RESULTS:

In chondrocyte monolayers, both basal and IL-1-stimulated ERK activities were similarly elevated at 0.5 hours after medium change, diminishing by 74% after 16 hours. In contrast, chondrocytes in other culture configurations exhibited lower basal levels of ERK activity and a moderate activation of ERK in response to IL-1 that was sustained over the 16-hour treatment time. The dynamic component of loading of cartilage explants led to a 5-fold activation of ERK, compared with free-swelling controls, that was indistinguishable from the effects of IL-1.

CONCLUSION:

ERK signaling in response to IL-1 in chondrocyte monolayers exhibited a pattern that was distinct from that in other culture systems, suggesting that the extracellular matrix plays an important regulatory role in modulating the response to extracellular stimuli. Since IL-1 and dynamic loading have distinct effects on chondrocyte biosynthesis, signaling pathways other than ERK participate in the chondrocyte responses to these stimuli.

PMID:
12632422
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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