Expression and Localization of Thrombospondins, Plastin 3, and STIM1 in Different Cartilage Compartments of the Osteoarthritic Varus Knee

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Osteoarthritis (OA) is a multifactorial disease which is characterized by a change in the homeostasis of the extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM is essential for the function of the articular cartilage and plays an important role in cartilage mechanotransduction. To provide a better understanding of the interaction between the ECM and the actin cytoskeleton, we investigated the localization and expression of the Ca2+-dependent proteins cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP), thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), plastin 3 (PLS3) and stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1). We investigated 16 patients who suffered from varus knee OA and performed a topographical analysis of the cartilage from the medial and lateral compartment of the proximal tibial plateau. In a varus knee, OA is more pronounced in the medial compared to the lateral compartment as a result of an overloading due to the malalignment. We detected a location-dependent staining of PLS3 and STIM1 in the articular cartilage tissue. The staining intensity for both proteins correlated with the degree of cartilage degeneration. The staining intensity of TSP-1 was clearly reduced in the cartilage of the more affected medial compartment, an observation that was confirmed in cartilage extracts by immunoblotting. The total amount of COMP was unchanged; however, slight changes were detected in the localization of the protein. Our results provide novel information on alterations in OA cartilage suggesting that Ca2+-dependent mechanotransduction between the ECM and the actin cytoskeleton might play an essential role in the pathomechanism of OA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3073
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 03.2021

ID: 5964313


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