The integrin family of cell adhesion receptors plays a major role in mediating interactions between cells and the extracellular matrix. Normal adult articular chondrocytes express α1β1, α3β1, α5β1, α10β1, αVβ1, αVβ3, and αVβ5 integrins, while chondrocytes from osteoarthritic tissue also express α2β1, α4β1, α6β1. These integrins bind a host of cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, most notably fibronectin and collagen types II and VI, which provide signals that regulate cell proliferation, survival, differentiation, and matrix remodeling. By initiating signals in response to mechanical forces, chondrocyte integrins also serve as mechanotransducers. When the cartilage matrix is damaged in osteoarthritis, fragments of fibronectin are generated that signal through the α5β1 integrin to activate a pro-inflammatory and pro-catabolic response which, if left unchecked, could contribute to progressive matrix degradation. The cell signaling pathways activated in response to excessive mechanical signals and to fibronectin fragments are being unraveled and may represent useful therapeutic targets for slowing or stopping progressive matrix destruction in arthritis.
Keywords: Cartilage; Cell signaling; Chondrocyte; Integrin; Osteoarthritis.
Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V.