Members of the ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloprotease with thrombospondin motifs) family share common structural features including a disintegrin domain, a zinc metalloprotease domain, and at least one thrombospondin motif. Aberrant expression of several of these proteins has led to an understanding of their role in human disease; however, a link to function for many has not yet been made. One such uncharacterized family member, ADAMTS-8, shares significant protein sequence homology with a subgroup of ADAMTSs that includes ADAMTS-1, ADAMTS-4, ADAMTS-5, and ADAMTS-15. Each of these proteases has been shown to cleave 'aggrecanase-susceptible' site(s) within the extracellular matrix (ECM) proteoglycan aggrecan, and ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5 have been postulated to play a role in the depletion of articular cartilage in osteoarthritic disease. Based on sequence relationships, in the present study we examined the ability of ADAMTS-8 to exhibit 'aggrecanase' activity. A neoepitope monoclonal antibody (MAb; AGG-C1; anti-NITEGE373) was developed and used to demonstrate the ability of ADAMTS-8 to cleave aggrecan at the aggrecanase-susceptible Glu373-Ala374 peptide bond. In addition, expression analyses demonstrated the presence of ADAMTS-8 mRNA transcripts in normal and osteoarthritic human cartilage.