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Int J Biol Sci 2013; 9(6):649-655. doi:10.7150/ijbs.6726

Research Paper

1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 Activates MMP13 Gene Expression in Chondrocytes through p38 MARK Pathway

Dafu Chen1, Yang Li2, Xuejun Dai3, Xinhua Zhou1, Wei Tian1, Yixin Zhou1, Xuenong Zou3✉, Chi Zhang2✉

1. Laboratory of Bone Tissue Engineering, Beijing Research Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedics, Beijing JiShuiTan Hospital, Beijing 100035, China.
2. Bone Research Laboratory, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75219, USA.
3. Department of Spine, The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510080, China

Abstract

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent degenerative joint disease. The highly regulated balance of matrix synthesis and degradation is disrupted in OA, leading to progressive breakdown of articular cartilage. The molecular events and pathways involved in chondrocyte disfunction of cartilage in OA are not fully understood. It is known that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D₃ (1,25-(OH)2D3) is synthesized by macrophages derived from synovial fluid of patients with inflammatory arthritis. Vitmain D receptor is expressed in chondrocytes within osteoarthritic cartilage, suggesting a contributory role of 1,25-(OH)2D3 in the aberrant behavior of chondrocytes in OA. However, the physiological function of 1,25-(OH)2D3 on chondrocytes in OA remains obscure. Effect of 1,25-(OH)2D3 on gene expression in chondrocytes was investigated in this study. We found that 1,25-(OH)2D3 activated MMP13 expression in a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner, a major enzyme that targets cartilage for degradation. Interestingly, a specific mitogen-activated protein kinase p38 inhibitor SB203580, but not JNK kinase inhibitor SP600125, abrogated 1,25-(OH)2D3 activation of MMP13 expression. 1,25-(OH)2D3-induced increase in MMP13 protein level was in parallel with the phosphorylation of p38 in chondrocytes. To further address the effect of 1,25-(OH)2D3 on MMP13 expression, transfection assays were used to show that 1,25-(OH)2D3 activated the MMP13 promoter reporter expression. MMP13 is known to target type II collagen and aggrecan for degradation, two major components of cartilage matrix. We observed that the treatment of 1,25-(OH)2D3 in chondrocytes results in downregulation of both type II collagen and aggrecan while MMP13 was upregulated. Taken together, we provide the first evidence to demonstrate that 1,25-(OH)2D3 activates MMP13 expression through p38 pathway in chondrocytes. Since MMP13 plays a major role in cartilage degradation in OA, we speculate that the ability of 1,25-(OH)2D3 to potentiate MMP13 expression might facilitate cartilage erosion at the site of inflammatory arthritis.

Keywords: 1,25-(OH)2D3, MMP13, Osteoarthritis, p38, Gene expression, Chondrocyte.

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How to cite this article:
Chen D, Li Y, Dai X, Zhou X, Tian W, Zhou Y, Zou X, Zhang C. 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 Activates MMP13 Gene Expression in Chondrocytes through p38 MARK Pathway. Int J Biol Sci 2013; 9(6):649-655. doi:10.7150/ijbs.6726. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v09p0649.htm