Slices of lapine meniscus produced large amounts of nitric oxide after stimulation with interleukin-1, tumor necrosis factor α, or a mixture of lapine synovial cytokines known as chondrocyte-activating factors. Monolayer cultures of meniscal cells produced from the proteolysis of meniscal tissue contained a mixed population of chondrocytic and fibroblastic cells. These cultures also produced large amounts of nitric oxide in response to cytokines. Monolayer cultures of meniscal cells produced by the explant method, in contrast, were uniformly fibroblastic and did not produce nitric oxide in response to cytokines. We conclude that menisci contain two populations of cells, one fibroblastic and the other chondrocytic. The chondrocytic cells are responsible for generating most of the nitric oxide in response to cytokines. Endogenously generated nitric oxide suppressed the synthesis of collagen and proteoglycan by menisci but protected proteoglycan from the catabolic effects of interleukin-1. The inhibitory effect of nitric oxide on collagen synthesis occurred without greatly altering the abundance of mRNAs encoding the various collagen α chains. During further investigation, arginine was unexpectedly found to stimulate the synthesis of collagen and, to a lesser degree, of noncollagenous proteins but not of proteoglycans. Fragments of meniscus, but not meniscal cells in monolayer culture, increased their production of matrix metalloproteinases, lactate, and, especially, prostaglandin E2 in response to interleukin-1. Inhibition of nitric oxide production with N(G))-monomethyl-L-arginine enhanced production of matrix metalloproteinases but had little effect on the synthesis of lactate or prostaglandin E2.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine