The aim of the present study was to investigate the pathophysiological etiology of osteoarthritis that is mediated by the apoptosis of chondrocytes exposed to 25-hydroxycholesterol (25-HC), an oxysterol synthesized by the expression of cholesterol-25-hydroxylase (CH25H) under inflammatory conditions. Interleukin-1β induced the apoptosis of chondrocytes in a dose- dependent manner. Furthermore, the production of 25-HC increased in the chondrocytes treated with interleukin-1β through the expression of CH25H. 25-HC decreased the viability of chondrocytes. Chondrocytes with condensed nucleus and apoptotic populations increased by 25-HC. Moreover, the activity and expression of caspase-3 were increased by the death ligand-mediated extrinsic and mitochondria-dependent intrinsic apoptotic pathways in the chondrocytes treated with 25-HC. Finally, 25-HC induced not only caspase-dependent apoptosis, but also induced proteoglycan loss in articular cartilage ex vivo cultured rat knee joints. These data indicate that 25-HC may act as a metabolic pathophysiological factor in osteoarthritis that is mediated by progressive chondrocyte death in the articular cartilage with inflammatory condition.
Keywords: 25-Hydroxycholesterol; Apoptosis; Cholesterol; Chondrocytes; Osteoarthritis.
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