Dynamic Shear Stimulation of Bovine Cartilage Biosynthesis of Proteoglycan 4, 2006

Topics: Cartilage, proteoglycans, PRG4, dynamic shear stress, static compression

Authors: Gayle E. Nugent, Nicole M. Aneloski, Tannin A. Schmidt, Barbara L. Schumacher,
Michael S. Voegtline, and Robert L. Sah


Objective. The boundary lubrication function of articular cartilage is mediated in part by proteoglycan 4 (PRG4) molecules at the articular surface and in synovial fluid. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of dynamic shear stimulation on PRG4 biosynthesis by bovine cartilage explants. Methods. Cartilage disks with intact articular surfaces were harvested from immature bovines. Some disks were subjected to 24 hours (day 1) of loading, consisting of a step load of 20% static compression either alone or with superimposed dynamic shear (3% amplitude and 0.1 Hz), while other disks were cultured free-swelling as controls. After the 24-hour loading period, disks were terminated or were further incubated for up to 72 hours (days 2–4) in free-swelling culture to assess chondrocyte responses to, and following, unloading. PRG4 products secreted into culture medium were quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and characterized by Western blotting. Chondrocytes expressing PRG4 were localized by immunohistochemistry, and depth-associated variations in chondrocyte PRG4 expression were quantified by image analysis. Results. Dynamic shear stimulation increased PRG4 secretion to 3–4 times that of unloaded controls and statically compressed samples. Sheared cartilage secreted more PRG4 of 345 kd relative to smaller molecular weight species, as compared with unloaded controls. Immunohistochemistry revealed that shear stimulation also increased the total number of cells expressing PRG4 by inducing expression by cells at a depth of 200–400 !m. Conclusion. The paradigm that certain mechanical stimuli up-regulate biosynthesis in cartilage appears operative not only for load-bearing matrix constituents, but also for PRG4 molecules that mediate lubrication.

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