Effect of steroid hormones on endotoxin-mediated cartilage degradation

Mol Cell Biochem. 1988 Jan;79(1):31-7. doi: 10.1007/BF00229395.


Cartilage degradation is a characteristic feature of various types of human arthritis, notably rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The influence of glucocorticoid and other steroid hormones on cartilage proteoglycan breakdown was examined in a model system in which breakdown is readily quantified by the release of proteoglycan from cultured bovine nasal cartilage discs. Endotoxin (bacterial lipopolysaccharides) treatment enhanced the depletion of cartilage proteoglycan by 2-3 fold. This was inhibited in a concentration-dependent manner by hydrocortisone (10(-9) to 10(-5) M) or other glucocorticoid hormones (dexamethasone, prednisolone, cortisone). Inhibition required the continued presence of the steroid. Removal of hydrocortisone (3 x 10(-7) M) after 4 days from endotoxin-treated cultures resulted in the rapid restoration of an endotoxin response, so that proteoglycan release approached maximum levels during a second 4-day culture period. Other C-21 steroid hormones (progesterone, aldosterone) were also inhibitory at 10(-5) M, but testosterone and beta-estradiol showed little influence on endotoxin action. Proteoglycan products of smaller average mol wt (Sepharose CL-2B chromatography), consistent with core protein cleavages, were released from endotoxin-treated cartilage. Cleavage was unaffected by beta-estradiol, partially blocked by aldosterone and largely prevented by hydrocortisone administration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage / drug effects*
  • Cartilage / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Culture Techniques
  • Endotoxins / toxicity*
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology*
  • Hydrocortisone / pharmacology
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Salmonella typhi


  • Endotoxins
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Proteoglycans
  • Hydrocortisone