The role of cytokines in chondrocyte mediated cartilage degradation

J Rheumatol Suppl. 1989 Aug;18:32-4.


Articular chondrocytes cultured in the presence of recombinant human interleukin 1 alpha (rhIL-1 alpha) or recombinant human tumor necrosis factor alpha (rhTNF alpha) caused increased production of the latent metalloproteinase (collagenase and caseinase) and the proteoglycan release from cartilage. The existences of IL-1 and TNF alpha in the chondrocytes of human articular cartilage were also shown by immunohistochemical staining using polyclonal antibodies. Furthermore, chondrocyte was found to be a producer of interleukin 6 (IL-6), known as a pleiotropic cytokine and thought to be an important mediator of the cell interactions in arthritis. In addition, the production of IL-6 was also shown to be stimulated by rhIL-1 alpha or rhTNF alpha. From our findings, we suggest there exists a very complicated autocrine control system of chondrolysis by the chondrocyte itself.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage, Articular / cytology*
  • Cartilage, Articular / drug effects
  • Cartilage, Articular / enzymology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Hybridomas / drug effects
  • Hybridomas / enzymology*
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-1 / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis*
  • Metalloendopeptidases / biosynthesis*
  • Proteoglycans / biosynthesis*
  • Rabbits
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology*


  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-6
  • Proteoglycans
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Metalloendopeptidases