The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of mild electrical stimulation (MES) and heat stress (HS) on heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), that protects chondrocytes and enhances cartilage matrix metabolism, in chondrocyte and articular cartilage. Rabbit articular chondrocytes were treated with MES and/or HS. The safeness was assessed by LDH assay and morphology. HSP70 protein, ubiquitinated proteins and HSP70 mRNA were examined by Western blotting and real-time PCR. Rat knee joints were treated with MES and/or HS. HSP70 protein, ubiquitinated proteins, HSP70 mRNA and proteoglycan core protein (PG) mRNA in articular cartilage were investigated. In vitro, HS increased HSP70 mRNA and HSP70 protein. MES augmented ubiquitinated protein and HSP70 protein, but not HSP70 mRNA. MES + HS raised HSP70 mRNA and ubiquitinated protein, and significantly increased HSP70 protein. In vivo, HS and MES + HS treatment augmented HSP70 mRNA. HS modestly augmented HSP70 protein. MES + HS significantly increased HSP70 protein and ubiquitinated proteins. PG mRNA was markedly raised by MES + HS. This study demonstrated that MES, in combination with HS, increases HSP70 protein in chondrocytes and articular cartilage, and promotes cartilage matrix metabolism in articular cartilage. MES in combination with HS can be a novel physical therapy for osteoarthritis by inducing HSP70 in articular cartilage.
Copyright © 2013 Orthopaedic Research Society.