The effect of TNF-α on osteoblasts in metal wear-induced periprosthetic bone loss

Bone Joint Res. 2020 Nov;9(11):827-839. doi: 10.1302/2046-3758.911.BJR-2020-0001.R2.


Aims: This study aimed to examine the effects of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) on osteoblasts in metal wear-induced bone loss.

Methods: TNF-α immunoexpression was examined in periprosthetic tissues of patients with failed metal-on-metal hip arthroplasties and also in myeloid MM6 cells after treatment with cobalt ions. Viability and function of human osteoblast-like SaOs-2 cells treated with recombinant TNF-α were studied by immunofluorescence, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labelling (TUNEL) assay, western blotting, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Results: Macrophages, lymphocytes, and endothelial cells displayed strong TNF-α immunoexpression in periprosthetic tissues containing metal wear debris. Colocalization of TNF-α with the macrophage marker CD68 and the pan-T cell marker CD3 confirmed TNF-α expression in these cells. Cobalt-treated MM6 cells secreted more TNF-α than control cells, reflecting the role of metal wear products in activating the TNF-α pathway in the myeloid cells. While TNF-α did not alter the immunoexpression of the TNF-receptor 1 (TNF-R1) in SaOs-2 cells, it increased the release of the soluble TNF-receptor 1 (sTNF-R1). There was also evidence for TNF-α-induced apoptosis. TNF-α further elicited the expression of the endoplasmic reticulum stress markers inositol-requiring enzyme (IRE)-1α, binding-immunoglobulin protein (BiP), and endoplasmic oxidoreductin1 (Ero1)-Lα. In addition, TNF-α decreased pro-collagen I α 1 secretion without diminishing its synthesis. TNF-α also induced an inflammatory response in SaOs-2 cells, as evidenced by the release of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and the proinflammatory cytokine vascular endothelial growth factor.

Conclusion: The results suggest a novel osteoblastic mechanism, which could be mediated by TNF-α and may be involved in metal wear debris-induced periprosthetic bone loss. Cite this article: Bone Joint Res 2020;9(11):827-839.

Keywords: Bone loss; Endoplasmic reticulum stress; Implant loosening; Osteoblast; Tumour necrosis factor-alpha.