OBJECTIVE--Disturbed anabolic signalling might contribute to the decreased chondrocyte proteoglycan (PG) synthesis during joint inflammation. Articular cartilage obtained from mouse knee joints with experimentally-induced arthritis exhibits a state of nonresponsiveness towards stimulation of chondrocyte PG synthesis by insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Investigations were carried out on the role of other growth factors apart from IGF-1 on regulation of chondrocyte PG synthesis under pathological conditions, that is, during repair after IL-1 exposure as well as during early and later arthritis. METHODS--Mouse patellae were obtained from normal knee joints and joints injected with IL-1 or zymosan. The patellae were cultured with basic fibroblast growth factor [bFGF], platelet-derived growth factor [PDGF], epidermal growth factor [EGF] or transforming growth factor beta [TGF beta] for 24 hours in the presence or absence of IGF-1. Chondrocyte PG synthesis was measured by 35S-sulphate incorporation. RESULTS--In normal cartilage none of the tested growth factors elicited stimulatory effects on the chondrocyte PG synthesis as caused by IGF-1. EGF and TGF beta even caused significant inhibition of chondrocyte PG synthesis. Combination of bFGF or PDGF with IGF-1 exerted significant additional stimulation of the 35S-sulphate incorporation. IL-1 exposed cartilage displayed reactivity to IGF-1 as well as to the other growth factors similar to control cartilage. Cartilage obtained from joints with experimentally-induced arthritis exhibited a state of nonresponsiveness towards all individually tested growth factors as well as growth factor combinations. CONCLUSION--Arthritis causes nonresponsiveness to stimulation of chondrocyte PG synthesis by the tested growth factors, which might be caused by a general receptor function defect.
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