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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Oct 2023 - 3 Nov 2023

2023 Nov 01

Exp Mol Med


IRE1α protects against osteoarthritis by regulating progranulin-dependent XBP1 splicing and collagen homeostasis.


Liang L, Zhang F, Feng N, Kuang B, Fan M, Chen C, Pan Y, Zhou P, Geng N, Li X, Xian M, Deng L, Li X, Kuang L, Luo F, Tan Q, Xie Y, Guo F


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a full-joint, multifactorial, degenerative and inflammatory disease that seriously affects the quality of life of patients due to its disabling and pain-causing properties. ER stress has been reported to be closely related to the progression of OA. The inositol-requiring enzyme 1α/X-box-binding protein-1 spliced (IRE1α/XBP1s) pathway, which is highly expressed in the chondrocytes of OA patients, promotes the degradation and refolding of abnormal proteins during ER stress and maintains the stability of the ER environment of chondrocytes, but its function and the underlying mechanisms of how it contributes to the progression of OA remain unclear. This study investigates the role of IRE1α/ERN1 in OA. Specific deficiency of ERN1 in chondrocytes spontaneously resulted in OA-like cartilage destruction and accelerated OA progression in a surgically induced arthritis model. Local delivery of AdERN1 relieved degradation of the cartilage matrix and prevented OA development in an ACLT-mediated model. Mechanistically, progranulin (PGRN), an intracellular chaperone, binds to IRE1α, promoting its phosphorylation and splicing of XBP1u to generate XBP1s. XBP1s protects articular cartilage through TNF-α/ERK1/2 signaling and further maintains collagen homeostasis by regulating type II collagen expression. The chondroprotective effect of IRE1α/ERN1 is dependent on PGRN and XBP1s splicing. ERN1 deficiency accelerated cartilage degeneration in OA by reducing PGRN expression and XBP1s splicing, subsequently decreasing collagen II expression and triggering collagen structural abnormalities and an imbalance in collagen homeostasis. This study provides new insights into OA pathogenesis and the UPR and suggests that IRE1α/ERN1 may serve as a potential target for the treatment of joint degenerative diseases, including OA.