Extracellular matrix deposition is tightly controlled by a network of regulatory cytokines. Among them, interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) and transforming growth factor beta1 (TGFbeta1) have been shown to play antagonistic roles in tissue homeostasis. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of IL-1beta on TGFbeta receptor type II (TGFbetaRII) regulation and TGFbeta1 responsiveness in human articular chondrocytes.
TGFbeta1-induced gene expression was analyzed through plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 and p3TP-Lux induction. Receptor-activated Smad (R-Smad) phosphorylation, TGFbeta receptors, and Smad expression were determined by Western blotting and real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction techniques. Signaling pathways were investigated using specific inhibitors, messenger RNA (mRNA) silencing, and expression vectors.
IL-1beta down-regulated TGFbetaRII expression at both the protein and mRNA levels and led to inhibition of the TGFbeta1-induced gene expression and Smad2/3 phosphorylation. Moreover, IL-1beta strongly stimulated the expression of inhibitory Smad7. TGFbetaRII overexpression abolished the loss of TGFbeta1 responsiveness induced by IL-1beta. The decrease in TGFbetaRII required de novo protein synthesis and involved both the NF-kappaB and JNK pathways.
We demonstrate that IL-1beta impairs TGFbeta1 signaling through down-regulation of TGFbetaRII, which is mediated by the p65/NF-kappaB and activator protein 1/JNK pathways, and secondarily through the up-regulation of Smad7. These findings show that there is cross-talk in the signaling of 2 regulatory cytokines involved in inflammation.