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J Bone Miner Metab. 2009;27(4):412-23. doi: 10.1007/s00774-009-0058-6. Epub 2009 Apr 1.

Osteoblasts derived from osteophytes produce interleukin-6, interleukin-8, and matrix metalloproteinase-13 in osteoarthritis.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kawaramachi-Hirokoji, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, 602-8566, Japan.


To clarify the significance of the osteophytes that appear during the progression of osteoarthritis (OA), we investigated the expression of inflammatory cytokines and proteases in osteoblasts from osteophytes. We also examined the influence of mechanical stress loading on osteoblasts on the expression of inflammatory cytokines and proteases. Osteoblasts were isolated from osteophytes in 19 patients diagnosed with knee OA and from subchondral bone in 4 patients diagnosed with femoral neck fracture. Messenger RNA expression and protein production of inflammatory cytokines and proteases were analyzed using real-time RT-PCR and ELISA, respectively. To examine the effects of mechanical loading, continuous hydrostatic pressure was applied to the osteoblasts. We determined the mRNA expression and protein production of IL-6, IL-8, and MMP-13, which are involved in the progression of OA, were increased in the osteophytes. Additionally, when OA pathological conditions were simulated by applying a nonphysiological mechanical stress load, the gene expression of IL-6 and IL-8 increased. Our results suggested that nonphysiological mechanical stress may induce the expression of biological factors in the osteophytes and is involved in OA progression. By controlling the expression of these genes in the osteophytes, the progression of cartilage degeneration in OA may be reduced, suggesting a new treatment strategy for OA.

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