Objective: Previous work has established that the deacetylase sirtuin-1 (SIRT1) is cleaved by cathepsin B in chondrocytes subjected to proinflammatory stress, yielding a stable but inactive N-terminal (NT) polypeptide (75SIRT1) and a C-terminal (CT) fragment. The present work examined if chondrocyte-derived NT-SIRT1 is detected in serum and may serve as an investigative and exploratory biomarker of osteoarthritis (OA).
Methods: We developed a novel ELISA assay to measure the ratio of NT to CT of SIRT1 in the serum of human individuals and mice subjected to post-traumatic OA (PTOA) or age-dependent OA (ADOA). We additionally monitored NT/CT SIRT1 in mice subject to ADOA/PTOA followed by senolytic clearance. Human chondrosenescent and non-senescent chondrocytes were exposed to cytokines and analysed for apoptosis and NT/CT SIRT1 ratio in conditioned medium.
Results: Wild-type mice with PTOA or ADOA of moderate severity exhibited increased serum NT/CT SIRT1 ratio. In contrast, this ratio remained low in cartilage-specific Sirt1 knockout mice despite similar or increased PTOA and ADOA severity. Local clearance of senescent chondrocytes from old mice with post-traumatic injury resulted in a lower NT/CT ratio and reduced OA severity. While primary chondrocytes exhibited NT/CT ratio increased in conditioned media after prolonged cytokine stimulation, this increase was not evident in cytokine-stimulated chondrosenescent cells. Finally, serum NT/CT ratio was elevated in humans with early-stage OA.
Conclusions: Increased levels of serum NT/CT SIRT1 ratio correlated with moderate OA in both mice and humans, stemming at least in part from non-senescent chondrocyte apoptosis, possibly a result of prolonged inflammatory insult.
Keywords: TNF-alpha; chondrocytes; inflammation; osteoarthritis.
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