We investigated the unknown molecular mechanisms of Interleukin-1 (IL-1β)-induced cartilage aggrecan degeneration by aggrecanase (ADAMTS-A Disintegrin And Metalloproteinase with ThromboSpondin motifs) in human articular chondrocytes, a model mimicking human arthritis.
Chondrocytes were pretreated with various pharmacological inhibitors and then stimulated with IL-1β for 24 h. ADAMTS-4 expression or activity was studied by RT-PCR or ELISA and other proteins measured by Western blotting.
MAP kinase kinase-specific inhibitor, U0126 inhibited IL-1-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and down-regulated ADAMTS-4 expression and activity. Protein 38 inhibitor, SB203580 down-regulated the phosphorylation of p38 and its target, activating transcription factor-2 (ATF-2), ADAMTS-4 mRNA and activity. C-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor, SP600125 diminished IL-1-stimulated JNK phosphorylation, ADAMTS-4 mRNA expression and enzyme activity. A c-fos/lipoxygenase pathway inhibitor and antioxidant, nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) significantly suppressed ADAMTS-4 mRNA induction and activity. Activating protein (AP-1) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-ĸB) transcription factor inhibitors, curcumin and pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) partially inhibited ADAMTS-4 induction and activity.
These results suggest partial involvement of ERK-, p38-and JNK-MAPKs as well as AP-1, ATF-2 and NF-ĸB transcription factors in IL-1-induced ADAMTS-4 in chondrocytes. Inhibition of these targets by the specific pharmacological agents could be useful for reducing aggrecanase-driven cartilage resorption in arthritis.