Cytokine-induced Increases in ADAMTS-4 Messenger RNA Expression Do Not Lead to Increased Aggrecanase Activity in ADAMTS-5-deficient Mice

Arthritis Rheum. 2010 Nov;62(11):3365-73. doi: 10.1002/art.27661.


Objective: To compare the regulation of aggrecanase messenger RNA (mRNA) and enzyme activity by proinflammatory cytokines in primary mouse chondrocytes.

Methods: Primary chondrocytes were isolated from knee epiphyses of 6-8-day-old mice and cultured as monolayers. The cells were incubated with tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), oncostatin M (OSM), or interleukin-6 (IL-6)/soluble IL-6 receptor, and mRNA levels were measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction at various time points. To measure aggrecanase activity, the cells were incubated with cytokine in the presence of exogenous aggrecan, and substrate cleavage was measured using antibodies to neoepitopes.

Results: Expression of both ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5 mRNA was up-regulated by TNFα and OSM. ADAMTS-5 mRNA expression was also up-regulated by IL-6. Treatment of wild-type mouse chondrocytes with each of the 3 cytokines increased cleavage of aggrecan at Glu(373)↓(374) Ala and Glu(1670)↓(1671) Gly; in chondrocytes lacking ADAMTS-5 activity, there was negligible cleavage at either site despite increased expression of ADAMTS-4 mRNA in the presence of TNFα or OSM. None of the cytokines substantially altered mRNA expression of ADAMTS-1 or ADAMTS-9.

Conclusion: Despite substantial increases in the expression of ADAMTS-4 mRNA induced by TNFα and OSM, these cytokines induced little if any increase in aggrecanolysis in ADAMTS-5-deficient mouse chondrocytes. Our data show a poor correlation between the level of cytokine-induced ADAMTS-4 mRNA expression and the level of aggrecan-degrading activity in cultured chondrocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ADAM Proteins / genetics
  • ADAM Proteins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Chondrocytes / drug effects
  • Chondrocytes / enzymology*
  • Cytokines / pharmacology*
  • Endopeptidases / genetics
  • Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors


  • Cytokines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Endopeptidases
  • ADAM Proteins
  • aggrecanase