Human chondrocyte culture models for studying cyclooxygenase expression and prostaglandin regulation of collagen gene expression

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 1999 Jul;7(4):386-8. doi: 10.1053/joca.1998.0219.


Objective Since articular chondrocytes and synovial fibroblasts are particularly responsive to interleukin-1 (IL-1) with respect to stimulation of prostaglandin E(2)(PGE(2)) biosynthesis, we have used them as models to examine feedback modulatory effects of PGE(2), which blocks or attenuates the direct effects of IL-1beta on cell-specific collagen gene expression. Methods Immortalized human chondrocytes were developed for studying responses to cytokines and prostaglandins. Regulatory sequences of the type II collagen gene (COL2A1) in reporter gene constructs were analyzed in transient transfection experiments. Endogenous expression of COL2A1 mRNA, as well as aggrecan, biglycan, and decorin mRNAs, and IL-1-inducible cyclooxygenase (COX-2), phospholipase A2 (PLA2), and inducible nitric oxide synthetase (iNOS) mRNAs were analyzed by RT-PCR. Results Previous work has shown that IL-1beta inhibits, while prostaglandins stimulate COL2A1 expression. In different immortalized chondrocyte cell lines, the ability to respond to IL-1beta with increased levels of COX-2, PLA2, and iNOS mRNAs depends upon expression of the differentiated chrondrocyte phenotype. Conclusions Our studies suggest that some IL-1-induced responses in chondrocytes may require differentiation-specific transcription factors that could serve as therapeutic targets for arthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chondrocytes / metabolism*
  • Collagen / genetics*
  • Dinoprostone / physiology*
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism*


  • Collagen
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • Dinoprostone