Prostromelysin and procollagenase genes are differentially up-regulated in chondrocytes from the knees of rabbits with experimental osteoarthritis

Arthritis Rheum. 1994 Aug;37(8):1189-97. doi: 10.1002/art.1780370813.


Objective: To determine the relative expressions of matrix metalloprotease (MMP) genes pro-MMP1 and pro-MMP3 in the cartilage of rabbits with experimentally induced osteoarthritis (OA), and to assess the role of the chondrocyte in this process.

Methods: OA was induced in rabbits after partial medial meniscectomy. Rabbits were killed at 4 weeks or 8 weeks, and total cellular RNA was prepared from cartilage and probed by Northern blotting with pro-MMP 32P-labeled complementary DNA. Monolayer chondrocytes were used to assess MMP-inducing activity of chondrocyte factor(s).

Results: Pro-MMP messenger RNAs (mRNAs) were up-regulated in experimental OA cartilage; pro-MMP3 mRNA expression exceeded that of pro-MMP1. Conditioned medium from OA-derived chondrocytes up-regulated pro-MMP mRNAs in normal chondrocytes.

Conclusion: Up-regulation of MMP genes in this OA model may contribute to cartilage degradation. Chondrocytes up-regulate MMP genes via an autocrine pathway.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cartilage, Articular / cytology*
  • Cartilage, Articular / physiology
  • Collagenases / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Knee Joint
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery
  • Metalloendopeptidases / genetics*
  • Osteoarthritis / etiology
  • Osteoarthritis / genetics*
  • Protein Precursors / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rabbits
  • Up-Regulation


  • Protein Precursors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Collagenases
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3