MMP-1 expression is detected in fluid shear stress (20 dyn/cm2)-activated and osteoarthritic human chondrocytes, however, the precise mechanisms underlying shear-induced MMP-1 synthesis remain unknown. Using primary chondrocytes and T/C-28a2 chondrocytic cells as model systems, we report that prolonged application of high fluid shear to human chondrocytes induced the synthesis of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2), which led to a marked increase in MMP-1 expression. IL-1β, COX-2-dependent PGE2 activated the PI3-K/AKT and p38 signaling pathways, which were in turn responsible for MMP-1 synthesis via NF-κB- and c-Jun-transactivating pathways. Prolonged shear stress exposure (>12 h) induced 15-Deoxy-Δ12,14-prostaglandin J2 (15d-PGJ2) synthesis. Although 15d-PGJ2 suppressed PI3-K/AKT and p38 signaling pathways, it stimulated MMP-1 expression via activating heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1). The critical role of COX-2 in regulating MMP-1 expression in articular cartilage in vivo was demonstrated using COX-2+/- transgenic mice in the absence or presence of rofecoxib oral administration. These findings provide novel insights for developing therapeutic strategies to combat OA.
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