Objective: We investigated whether chondrocytes derived from osteoarthritic cartilage may lose their responsiveness to cartilage-derived morphogenetic protein-1, -2 (CDMP-1, -2) and osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1) compared with healthy cells, thus leading to an impaired maintenance of matrix integrity.
Design: Chondrocytes were isolated from articular cartilage from patients with and without osteoarthritic lesions. Cells were grown as monolayer cultures for 7 days in a chemically defined serum-free basal medium (BM) in the presence of recombinant CDMP-1, -2, and OP-1. Glycosaminoglycan synthesis was measured by [35S]Sulfate incorporation into newly synthesized macromolecules. Cell proliferation was investigated by [3H]Thymidine incorporation. The endogenous gene expression of CDMPs/OP-1 and their respective type I and type II receptors was examined using RT-PCR. The presence of CDMP proteins in tissue and cultured cells was detected by Western immunoblots.
Results: mRNAs coding for CDMPs and their respective receptors are endogenously expressed not only in healthy, but also in osteoarthritic cartilage. CDMP proteins are present in both normal and osteoarthritic articular cartilage and cultured chondrocytes. CDMP-1, CDMP-2 and OP-1 markedly increased glycosaminoglycan synthesis in both healthy (P< 0.01) and osteoarthritic (P< 0.05) human articular chondrocytes. A comparison of the glycosaminoglycan biosynthetic activity between healthy and osteoarthritic samples revealed no detectable difference, neither in stimulated nor in unstimulated cultures. [(3)H]Thymidine incorporation showed that CDMPs/OP-1 did not affect cell proliferation in vitro.
Conclusion: CDMPs and OP-1 exert their anabolic effects on both healthy and osteoarthritic chondrocytes indicating no loss in responsiveness to these growth factors in OA. The endogenous expression of CDMPs/OP-1 and their receptors suggest an important role in cartilage homeostasis.
Copyright 2002 OsteoArthritis Research Society International. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.