Objectives: To determine (1) if interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1alpha), insulin like growth factor I (IGF-I), and transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta1) regulate proteoglycan 4 (PRG4) metabolism in articular cartilage, in terms of chondrocytes expressing PRG4 and PRG4 bound at the articular surface, and (2) if these features of cartilage PRG4 metabolism correlate with its secretion.
Methods: Articular cartilage explants were harvested and cultured for 6 days with or without 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS), alone, or with the addition of 10ng/ml IL-1alpha, 300ng/ml IGF-I, or 10ng/ml TGF-beta1. PRG4 expression by chondrocytes in the cartilage disks was assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC). PRG4 bound to the articular surface of disks was quantified by extraction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). PRG4 secreted into culture medium was quantified by ELISA and characterized by Western Blot.
Results: PRG4 expression by chondrocytes near the articular surface was markedly decreased by IL-1alpha, stimulated by TGF-beta1, and not affected by IGF-I. The level of PRG4 accumulation in the culture medium was correlated with the number of chondrocytes expressing PRG4. The amount of PRG4 bound at the articular surface was modulated by incubation in medium including FBS, but did not correlate with levels of PRG4 secretion.
Conclusions: Cartilage secretion of PRG4 is highly regulated by certain cytokines and growth factors, in part through alteration of the number of PRG4-secreting chondrocytes near the articular surface. The biochemical milieu may regulate the PRG4 content of synovial fluid during cartilage injury or repair.