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Matrix Biol. 1999 Jun;18(3):225-37.

Effects of culture conditions and exposure to catabolic stimulators (IL-1 and retinoic acid) on the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and disintegrin metalloproteinases (ADAMs) by articular cartilage chondrocytes.

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Connective Tissue Biology Laboratories, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Wales, UK.


The chondrocytes of articular cartilage synthesize a number of proteinases which are capable of degrading the component molecules of this specialized extracellular matrix. The use of class-specific proteinase inhibitors indicates that major activities responsible for catabolism of proteoglycan (aggrecan) and collagen are attributable to zinc-dependent metalloproteinases. In this study, we have compared the mRNA expression profiles of two matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-3 and MMP-13) and five disintegrin-metalloproteinases (ADAM-10, ADAM-9, ADAM-15, TNF-alpha-converting enzyme and decysin) by chondrocytes (human, porcine and bovine) from fresh cartilage and in cartilage explant cultures and isolated cells cultured in monolayer or in agarose gels. Such cultures were maintained in the presence or absence of interleukin-1 (IL-1) or all-trans-retinoic acid, two agents which promote cartilage matrix degradation in vitro. Whereas transcripts for all metalloproteinases examined were detected in chondrocytes from human osteoarthritic cartilage in monolayer cultures, mRNAs for ADAM-15 and decysin were not present in fresh osteoarthritic human cartilage or explant cultures. Similarly, expression of porcine and bovine metalloproteinase mRNAs varied with different culture conditions. Novel cDNA sequences obtained for porcine and bovine MMP-3 and MMP-13, porcine ADAM-10, porcine and bovine ADAM-9 and porcine TACE confirmed expression of mRNAs for these molecules by articular chondrocytes. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis was used to determine the effects of IL-1 and retinoic acid on metalloproteinase mRNA levels in human chondrocytes cultured in monolayer and in porcine chondrocytes cultured in agarose. For the MMPs, IL-1 treatment resulted in an approximately two to threefold increase in human and porcine MMP-3 and MMP-13 mRNAs, while retinoic acid treatment caused a statistically significant increase in human MMP-3 mRNA levels, but no significant change in transcript levels for porcine MMP-3 nor human or porcine MMP-13. The mRNA levels for ADAM-15 were elevated in human monolayer chondrocytes exposed to IL-1 or retinoic acid, while transcripts levels for TNF-alpha converting enzyme were increased in response to retinoic acid. In contrast, ADAM-9 mRNA levels were decreased in human monolayer chondrocytes exposed to IL-1 or retinoic acid. The results demonstrate that chondrocyte metalloproteinase expression can vary dependent on cell environment in situ and in vitro, and information on chondrocyte MMP and ADAM gene expression following cytokine (IL-1) or retinoid stimulation.

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