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Effects of RNAi-mediated inhibition of aggrecanase-1 and aggrecanase-2 on rat costochondral chondrocytes in vitro

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Aim: Failure of transplanted cartilage or allogenic chondrocytes is attributed mainly to immunological rejection and cartilage degradation. A major feature is the loss of aggrecan from the cartilage matrix, primarily due to the action of the specific proteinases aggrecanase-1 and aggrecanase-2. The aim of this in vitro study was to determine whether the specific inhibition of aggrecanase-1 and aggrecanase-2 by RNAi would mitigate aggrecan loss from cultured chondrocytes. Methods: Expression plasmid vectors of shRNA targeting aggrecanase-1 and aggrecanase-2 were constructed and transfected into cultured rattus costochondral chondrocytes. The transfected cells were induced with interleukin-1 (IL-1). Gene mRNA levels were analyzed by RT—PCR. Aggrecan and collagen II content were measured by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. Results: As the chondrocytes underwent dedifferentiation, agggrecanase-1 increased significantly. The specific inhibition of aggrecanase-1 and aggrecanase-2 by RNAi had no negative effect on the morphology and growth velocity of the chondrocytes. The mRNA of aggrecanase-1 and aggrecanase-2 decreased significantly. The α-2-macroglobulin expression level was increased by the shRNA specific for aggrecanase-1. Other genes of the chondrocytic extracellular matrix were not affected. RNAi significantly increased the aggrecan and collagen II content of chondrocytes treated with IL-1. Conclusion: The results suggest that inhibition of aggrecanase-1 and aggrecanase-2 by RNAi can mitigate aggrecan degradation, without interfering with chondrocytic gene phenotype recovery. RNAi technology can be a useful tool for studying degenerative processes in cartilage.

Keywords: RNAi; aggrecan; aggrecanase; chondrocyte; extracellular matrix

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Plastic Surgery, Stomatological Hospital, Xi-an Jiao Tong University, Xi-an 710004, China

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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