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Tougu Xiaotong capsule inhibits the tidemark replication and cartilage degradation of papain-induced osteoarthritis by the regulation of chondrocyte autophagy

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The tidemark is located between calcified and non-calcified cartilage matrices. Tidemark replication plays an important role in the pathogenesis of osteoarthrosis (OA). Autophagy, or cellular self-digestion, is an essential cellular homeostasis mechanism that was found to be deficient in osteoarthritic cartilage. This study evaluated the effects of Tougu Xiaotong capsule (TXC) on the tidemark replication and cartilage degradation, and also investigated LC3 I/II, which executes autophagy, the potential role of ULK1, an inducer of autophagy, and Beclin1, a regulator of autophagy, in the development of a papain-induced OA in rat knee joints. Using a papain-injected knee rat model, standard histological methods were used to validate our model as well as treatment with TXC or glucosamine (GlcN). After 12 weeks of treatment, the changes of cartilage structure were observed by digital radiography (DR), optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy, and the LC3 I/II, ULK1 and Beclin1 levels were measured by western blotting. Cartilage degradation was evaluated by the Mankin score on paraffin-embedded sections stained with Safranin O-fast green. TXC was found to improve the arrangement of subchondral bone collagen fibers and calcium phosphate crystals, inhibit the tidemark replication and delay the cartilage degradation in the papain-induced OA. Our results also showed that LC3 I/II, ULK1 and Beclin1 levels in both the TXC+OA and GlcN+OA groups were significantly increased compared to those in the OA group. The results indicate that TXC could inhibit the tidemark replication and cartilage degradation by the regulation of chondrocyte autophagy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Academy of Integrative Medicine, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, P.R. China 2: Research Base of Traditional Chinese Medicine Syndrome, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, P.R. China 3: Fujian Key Laboratory of Integrative Medicine on Geriatrics, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, Fujian 350122, P.R. China

Publication date: January 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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