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J Immunol. 2002 Jul 1;169(1):507-14.

Inhibition of endogenous TGF-beta during experimental osteoarthritis prevents osteophyte formation and impairs cartilage repair.

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Rheumatology Research Laboratory, Department of Rheumatology, University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Osteoarthritis has as main characteristics the degradation of articular cartilage and the formation of new bone at the joint edges, so-called osteophytes. In this study enhanced expression of TGF-beta1 and -beta3 was detected in developing osteophytes and articular cartilage during murine experimental osteoarthritis. To determine the role of endogenous TGF-beta on osteophyte formation and articular cartilage, TGF-beta activity was blocked via a scavenging soluble TGF-beta-RII. Our results clearly show that inhibition of endogenous TGF-beta nearly completely prevented osteophyte formation. In contrast, treatment with recombinant soluble TGF-beta-RII markedly enhanced articular cartilage proteoglycan loss and reduced the thickness of articular cartilage. In conclusion, we show for the first time that endogenous TGF-beta is a crucial factor in the process of osteophyte formation and has an important function in protection against cartilage loss.

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