Differences in nitric oxide production by superficial and deep human articular chondrocytes: Implications for proteoglycan turnover in inflammatory joint diseases

H. J. Häuselmann, M. Stefanovic-Racic, B. A. Michel, C. H. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

During inflammatory joint diseases, chondrocytes are exposed to cytokines such as IL-1 that induce the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO). Chondrocytes from different zones of the articular cartilage are known to have different metabolic properties. In the present study, we have demonstrated that chondrocytes recovered from the superficial zone of normal, human, articular cartilage synthesize approximately 2 to 3 times as much NO in response to IL-1 as chondrocytes recovered from the deep zone of the same cartilage. Production of NO by normal cartilage in response to IL-1 was also found to decrease with age. Addition of the NO synthase inhibitor N(G)- monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMA, 1 mM) blocked NO production by cells of both zones. L-NMA completely reversed the suppression of proteoglycan synthesis imposed by IL-1 in deep chondrocytes, but produced only partial reversal in superficial cells. As noted previously, IL-1 failed to elicit a strong catabolic response in cultures of human cartilage. In the presence of L-NMA, however, IL-1 reduced the metabolic t( 1/4 ) of proteoglycans by approximately 50 % in both the superficial and deep zones. This suggests that NO has, directly or indirectly, an anticatabolic effect in human cartilage. These data confirm the metabolic heterogeneity of human chondrocytes, and suggest that NO may be involved to different degrees as an endogenous modulator of the turnover of the cartilaginous matrix in different zones of articular cartilage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1444-1448
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume160
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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