Notch signaling is involved in human articular chondrocytes de-differentiation during osteoarthritis

N. Sassi, N. Gadgadi, L. Laadhar, M. Allouche, S. Mourali, B. Zandieh-Doulabi, M. Hamdoun, J. Klein Nulend, S. Makni, S. Sellami

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Context: During osteoarthritis (OA), chondrocytes undergo de-differentiation, resulting in the acquisition of a fibroblast-like morphology, decreased expression of collagen type II (colII) and aggrecan, and increased expression of collagen type I (colI), metalloproteinase 13 (MMP13) and nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Notch signaling plays a crucial role during embryogenesis. Several studies showed that Notch is expressed in adulthood. Objective: The aim of our study was to confirm the involvement of Notch signaling in human OA at in vitro and ex vivo levels. Materials and methods: Normal human articular chondrocytes were cultured during four passages either treated or not with a Notch inhibitor: DAPT. Human OA cartilage was cultured with DAPT for five days. Chondrocytes secreted markers and some Notch pathway components were analyzed using Western blotting and qPCR. Results: Passaging chondrocytes induced a decrease in the cartilage markers: colII and aggrecan. DAPT-treated chondrocytes and OA cartilage showed a significant increase in healthy cartilage markers. De-differentiation markers, colI, MMP13 and eNOS, were significantly reduced in DAPT-treated chondrocytes and OA cartilage. Notch1 expression was proportional to colI, MMP13 and eNOS expression and inversely proportional to colII and aggrecan expression in nontreated cultured chondrocytes. Notch ligand: Jagged1 increased in chondrocytes culture. DAPT treatment resulted in reduced Jagged1 expression. Notch target gene HES1 increased during chondrocyte culture and was reduced when treated with DAPT. Conclusion: Targeting Notch signaling during OA might lead to the restitution of the typical chondrocyte phenotype and even to chondrocyte redifferentiation during the pathology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-57
JournalJournal of Receptors and Signal Transduction Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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