Send to

Choose Destination
Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 Dec;23(12):2279-2287. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2015.06.020. Epub 2015 Jul 9.

Autophagy protects chondrocytes from glucocorticoids-induced apoptosis via ROS/Akt/FOXO3 signaling.

Author information

Department of Orthopedic, Xin-hua Hospital, China. Electronic address:
Department of Orthopedic, Xin-hua Hospital, China. Electronic address:
Department of Orthopedic, Xin-hua Hospital, China. Electronic address:
Department of Orthopedic, Xin-hua Hospital, China. Electronic address:



Glucocorticoids (GCs) have been widely used in the management of osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Nevertheless, there has been some concern about their ability of increasing reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the cartilage. Forkhead-box class O (FOXO) transcription factors have been proved to have a protective role in chondrocytes through regulation of autophagy and defending oxidative stress. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of FOXO3 in Dex-induce up-regulation of ROS.


Healthy cartilages debris from six patients were used for chondrocytes culture. After the treatment of dexamethasone (Dex), the ROS levels, autophagic flux, the expression of FOXO3 in chondrocytes were measured. RNA interference technique was also used to determine the role of FOXO3 in Dex-induced autophagy. The metabolism of the extra-cellular matrix was also investigated.


Dex increased intracellular ROS level, the expression of Akt, FOXO3 as well as autophagy flux in human chondrocytes. The expression of aggrecanases also increased after the treatment of Dex. Catalase, the ROS scavenger, suppressed Dex-induced up-regulation of autophagy flux and expression of aggrecanases and Akt. MK-2206 and LY294002, the PI3K/Akt inhibitors, repressed Dex-induced up-regulation of FOXO3. Silencing FOXO3 resulted in down-regulation of Dex-induced autophagy. Moreover, knockdown of FOXO3 increased Dex-induced apoptosis as well as ROS levels in chondrocytes. In addition, up-regulation of autophagy by Rapamycin resulted in decreasing ROS level in chondrocytes.


Dex could advance the degenerative process in cartilage. Autophagy was induced in response to Dex-induced up-regulation of ROS via ROS/Akt/FOXO3 signal pathway.


Autophagy; Chondrocytes; Dexamethasone; Forkhead-box class O3

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Publication type, MeSH terms, Substances

Publication type

MeSH terms


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center