Objective: S100A8 and S100A9 are two Ca(2+) binding proteins classified as damage-associated molecular patterns or alarmins that are found in high amounts in the synovial fluid of osteoarthritis (OA) patients. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether S100A8 and/or S100A9 can interact with chondrocytes from OA patients to increase catabolic mediators.
Methods: Using immunohistochemistry, we stained for S100A8 and S100A9 protein, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and a cartilage-breakdown epitope specific for MMPs (VDIPEN) in cartilage from OA donors. Isolated chondrocytes or explants from OA and non-OA donors were stimulated with S100A8 and/or S100A9. Messenger RNA and protein levels of MMPs, cytokines, and cartilage matrix molecules were determined with quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Luminex techniques, respectively. For receptor blocking studies, specific inhibitors for Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR-4), receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE), and carboxylated glycans were used.
Results: In cartilage from OA patients, the expression of S100A8 and S100A9 protein close to chondrocytes was associated with proteoglycan depletion and expression of MMP-1, MMP-3, and VDIPEN. Stimulation of chondrocytes with S100A8 and S100A9 caused a strong up-regulation of catabolic markers (MMPs 1, 3, 9, and 13, interleukin-6 [IL-6], IL-8, and monocyte chemotactic protein 1) and down-regulation of anabolic markers (aggrecan and type II collagen), thereby favoring cartilage breakdown. Blocking TLR-4, but not carboxylated glycans or RAGE, inhibited the S100 effect. The catabolic S100 effect was significantly more pronounced in chondrocytes from OA patients as compared to those from non-OA patients, possibly due to higher TLR-4 expression.
Conclusion: S100A8 and S100A9 have a catabolic effect on human chondrocytes that is TLR-4 dependent. OA chondrocytes are more sensitive than normal chondrocytes to S100 stimulation.
Copyright © 2012 by the American College of Rheumatology.