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p21 deficiency is susceptible to osteoarthritis through STAT3 phosphorylation

  • Hayashi, Shinya1
  • Fujishiro, Takaaki1
  • Hashimoto, Shingo1
  • Kanzaki, Noriyuki1
  • Chinzei, Nobuaki1
  • Kihara, Shinsuke1
  • Takayama, Koji1
  • Matsumoto, Tomoyuki1
  • Nishida, Kotaro1
  • Kurosaka, Masahiro1
  • Kuroda, Ryosuke1
  • 1 Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, 7-5-1 Kusunoki-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe, 650-0017, Japan , Kobe (Japan)
Published Article
Arthritis Research & Therapy
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Nov 07, 2015
DOI: 10.1186/s13075-015-0828-6
Springer Nature


IntroductionOsteoarthritis (OA) is a multifactorial disease, and recent studies have suggested that cell cycle–related proteins play a role in OA pathology. p21 was initially identified as a potent inhibitor of cell cycle progression. However, it has been proposed that p21 is a regulator of transcription factor activity. In this study, we evaluated the role of p21 in response to biomechanical stress.MethodsHuman chondrocytes were treated with p21-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA), and cyclic tensile strain was introduced in the presence or absence of a signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3)-specific inhibitor. Further, we developed an in vivo OA model in a p21-knockout background for in vivo experiments.ResultsThe expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP13) mRNA increased in response to cyclic tensile strain following transfection with p21 siRNA, whereas the expression of aggrecan was decreased. Phospho-STAT3 and MMP-13 protein levels increased following downregulation of p21, and this was reversed by treatment with a STAT3 inhibitor. p21-deficient mice were susceptible to OA, and this was associated with increased STAT3 phosphorylation, elevated MMP-13 expression, and elevation of synovial inflammation. The expression of p21 mRNA was decreased and phosphorylation of STAT3 was elevated in human OA chondrocytes.ConclusionsThe lack of p21 has catabolic effects by regulation of aggrecan and MMP-13 expression through STAT3 phosphorylation in the cartilage tissue. p21 may function as a regulator of transcriptional factors other than the inhibitor of cell cycle progression in the cartilage tissue. Thus, the regulation of p21 may be a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of OA.

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