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Arthritis Rheum. 1998 Feb;41(2):274-83.

Effects of interferon-gamma and tumor necrosis factor alpha on the expression of the genes encoding aggrecan, biglycan, and decorin core proteins in cultured human chondrocytes.

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1
Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107-5541, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the effects of interferon-gamma (IFN gamma) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha), alone or in combination, on the expression of aggrecan, biglycan, and decorin core protein genes in human chondrocytes.

METHODS:

Isolated human chondrocytes were cultured on poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate)-coated plastic dishes to prevent the loss of cartilage-specific phenotype, and the effects of IFN gamma and TNF alpha, alone or in combination, on aggrecan, biglycan, and decorin core protein gene transcription and steady-state messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were examined.

RESULTS:

The addition of IFN gamma (1.5 pM) or TNF alpha (0.3 pM) caused a decrease in the steady-state level of aggrecan mRNA (-25% and -15%, respectively), and the combination of these low-concentration cytokines caused a potent inhibition (-66%). These effects were the result of a decrease (-50%) in the transcription rate of the corresponding gene. At the concentrations used, IFN gamma did not alter the levels of biglycan mRNA or the transcription rates of the biglycan core protein gene. In contrast, TNF alpha decreased biglycan steady-state mRNA levels (-62%) and the biglycan core protein gene transcription rate (-18%). The combination of IFN gamma and TNF alpha resulted in a potentiation of the inhibitory effects of TNF alpha on biglycan mRNA levels (-79%) and transcription rate of the biglycan core protein gene (-46%). IFN gamma produced a modest decrease in decorin mRNA levels (-23%) and decorin core protein gene transcription rate (-17%). In contrast, TNF alpha resulted in a marked increase in decorin mRNA levels (+260%) that was not the result of transcriptional regulation. Notably, the combination of IFN gamma and TNF alpha potentiated the inhibitory effects of IFN gamma on decorin mRNA (-80%) and on the transcription of the corresponding gene (-43%). Similar results were obtained in fetal and adult articular chondrocytes.

CONCLUSION:

These data demonstrate that 1) the expression of the core protein genes encoding the cartilage proteoglycans aggrecan, biglycan, and decorin is differentially regulated by IFN gamma and TNF alpha; 2) these effects are mediated by transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms; and 3) the combination of the 2 cytokines causes a potent inhibitory effect on the expression of the genes for the core proteins of these 3 proteoglycans, which occurs largely at the transcriptional level. The inhibition of aggrecan, decorin, and biglycan core protein gene expression by the combination of IFN gamma and TNF alpha may contribute to the cartilage destruction that is characteristic of inflammatory joint diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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