CD11b Deficiency Favors Cartilage Calcification via Increased Matrix Vesicles, Apoptosis, and Lysyl Oxidase Activity

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jun 5;24(11):9776. doi: 10.3390/ijms24119776.


Pathological cartilage calcification is a hallmark feature of osteoarthritis, a common degenerative joint disease, characterized by cartilage damage, progressively causing pain and loss of movement. The integrin subunit CD11b was shown to play a protective role against cartilage calcification in a mouse model of surgery-induced OA. Here, we investigated the possible mechanism by which CD11b deficiency could favor cartilage calcification by using naïve mice. First, we found by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) that CD11b KO cartilage from young mice presented early calcification spots compared with WT. CD11b KO cartilage from old mice showed progression of calcification areas. Mechanistically, we found more calcification-competent matrix vesicles and more apoptosis in both cartilage and chondrocytes isolated from CD11b-deficient mice. Additionally, the extracellular matrix from cartilage lacking the integrin was dysregulated with increased collagen fibrils with smaller diameters. Moreover, we revealed by TEM that CD11b KO cartilage had increased expression of lysyl oxidase (LOX), the enzyme that catalyzes matrix crosslinks. We confirmed this in murine primary CD11b KO chondrocytes, where Lox gene expression and crosslinking activity were increased. Overall, our results suggest that CD11b integrin regulates cartilage calcification through reduced MV release, apoptosis, LOX activity, and matrix crosslinking. As such, CD11b activation might be a key pathway for maintaining cartilage integrity.

Keywords: CD11b; calcium-containing crystals; cartilage calcification; chondrocyte mineralization; integrin; lysyl oxidase; transmission electron microscopy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • CD11b Antigen / genetics
  • Calcinosis* / pathology
  • Cartilage, Articular* / metabolism
  • Chondrocytes / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / pathology
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Protein-Lysine 6-Oxidase / metabolism


  • Integrins
  • Protein-Lysine 6-Oxidase
  • CD11b Antigen