To identify the role of the Hippo signaling pathway in the extracellular matrix degradation of chondrocytes induced by fluoride exposure. Environmental response genes (ERGs) of bone injury induced by fluoride exposure were obtained from the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database, and annotated by STRING for KEGG pathway enrichment analysis. The CCK-8 kit was used to measure the proliferation of ATDC5 cells. The malondialdehyde (MDA), total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC), total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD), and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-PX) levels in ATDC5 cells were measured using oxidative stress detection kit. Western blot analysis was used to measure the p-MST1/2, p-LATS1/2, and p-YAP/YAP1 expression levels in the Hippo pathway and the COL2A1, ACAN and MMP13 expression levels in the cartilage matrix. Localizations of YAP1 and COL2A1 proteins in chondrocytes were performed using cell immunofluorescence. Continuous data from the multiple groups were compared using one-way analysis of variance, and then the differences between groups were tested with Dunnett's t-test, with the test level α = 0.05. The 145 ERGs of bone injury induced by fluoride exposure were identified, and KEGG enrichment analysis revealed Hippo signaling pathways significantly related to bone injury. A CCK-8 assay revealed that the viability of the ATDC5 cells was significantly decreased with increased fluorine concentration. The MDA content in 20 mg/L sodium fluoride (NaF) exposure group was significantly higher than that in the control group, the T-SOD, T-AOC and GSH-PX activities in 15 and 20 mg/L NaF exposure groups were significantly lower than those in the control group (P < 0.05). Western blot results showed the protein levels of p-MST1/2, p-LATS1/2 and p-YAP1 in 15 and 20 mg/L NaF exposure groups were significantly lower than those in the control group, while the YAP1 protein level in 20 mg/L NaF group was significantly higher than that in the control group. The COL2A1 and ACAN proteins in 20 mg/L NaF group were significantly decreased, while the MMP13 protein level in 15 and 20 mg/L NaF groups were significantly increased (P < 0.05). It was observed that the expression of YAP1 protein expression level in the cytoplasm decreased with the increased fluoride exposure, whereas that the expression level of YAP1 protein in the nucleus increased. Fluoride inhibited the proliferation of ATDC5 cells, induced oxidative stress, inhibited the activity of the Hippo pathway, and eventually led to cartilage matrix degradation.
Keywords: Chondrocytes; Fluoride; Hippo pathway; Matrix degradation.
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