Osteoarthritis-Induced Metabolic Alterations of Human Hip Chondrocytes

Biomedicines. 2022 Jun 8;10(6):1349. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines10061349.


Osteoarthritis (OA) alters chondrocyte metabolism and mitochondrial biology. We explored whether OA and non-OA chondrocytes show persistent differences in metabolism and mitochondrial function and different responsiveness to cytokines and cAMP modulators. Hip chondrocytes from patients with OA or femoral neck fracture (non-OA) were stimulated with IL-1β, TNF, forskolin and opioid peptides. Mediators released from chondrocytes were measured, and mitochondrial functions and glycolysis were determined (Seahorse Analyzer). Unstimulated OA chondrocytes exhibited significantly higher release of IL-6, PGE2 and MMP1 and lower production of glycosaminoglycan than non-OA chondrocytes. Oxygen consumption rates (OCR) and mitochondrial ATP production were comparable in unstimulated non-OA and OA chondrocytes, although the non-mitochondrial OCR was higher in OA chondrocytes. Compared to OA chondrocytes, non-OA chondrocytes showed stronger responses to IL-1β/TNF stimulation, consisting of a larger decrease in mitochondrial ATP production and larger increases in non-mitochondrial OCR and NO production. Enhancement of cAMP by forskolin prevented IL-1β-induced mitochondrial dysfunction in OA chondrocytes but not in non-OA chondrocytes. Endogenous opioids, present in OA joints, influenced neither cytokine-induced mitochondrial dysfunction nor NO upregulation. Glycolysis was not different in non-OA and OA chondrocytes, independent of stimulation. OA induces persistent metabolic alterations, but the results suggest upregulation of cellular mechanisms protecting mitochondrial function in OA.

Keywords: chondrocytes; metabolic alterations; mitochondrial ATP production; opioid peptides; osteoarthritis; oxygen consumption rate.