The Role of Prostaglandins and COX-Enzymes in Chondrogenic Differentiation of ATDC5 Progenitor Cells

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Objectives NSAIDs are used to relieve pain and decrease inflammation by inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX)-catalyzed prostaglandin (PG) synthesis. PGs are fatty acid mediators involved in cartilage homeostasis, however the action of their synthesizing COX-enzymes in cartilage differentiation is not well understood. In this study we hypothesized that COX-1 and COX-2 have differential roles in chondrogenic differentiation. Methods ATDC5 cells were differentiated in the presence of COX-1 (SC-560, Mofezolac) or COX-2 (NS398, Celecoxib) specific inhibitors. Specificity of the NSAIDs and inhibition of specific prostaglandin levels were determined by EIA. Prostaglandins were added during the differentiation process. Chondrogenic outcome was determined by gene-and protein expression analyses. Results Inhibition of COX-1 prevented Col2a1 and Col10a1 expression. Inhibition of COX-2 resulted in decreased Col10a1 expression, while Col2a1 remained unaffected. To explain this difference expression patterns of both COX-enzymes as well as specific prostaglandin concentrations were determined. Both COX-enzymes are upregulated during late chondrogenic differentiation, whereas only COX-2 is briefly expressed also early in differentiation. PGD2 and PGE2 followed the COX-2 expression pattern, whereas PGF2a and TXA2 levels remained low. Furthermore, COX inhibition resulted in decreased levels of all tested PGs, except for PGD2 and PGF2a in the COX-1 inhibited condition. Addition of PGE2 and PGF2a resulted in increased expression of chondrogenic markers, whereas TXA2 increased expression of hypertrophic markers. Conclusions Our findings point towards a differential role for COX-enzymes and PG-production in chondrogenic differentiation of ATDC5 cells. Ongoing research is focusing on further elucidating the functional partition of cyclooxygenases and specific prostaglandin production.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0153162
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2016

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