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Papers of the Week

Papers: 12 Aug 2023 - 18 Aug 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Human Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Arthritis, Inflammation/Inflammatory

2023 Aug 02

Int J Mol Sci




Sortilin Is Upregulated in Osteoarthritis-Dependent Cartilage Calcification and Associated with Cellular Senescence.


Richter E, Lohmann CH, Dell'Accio F, Goettsch C, Bertrand J


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic joint disease characterized by articular cartilage calcification, loss of articular cartilage, bone changes, pain, and disability. Cartilage calcification is one hallmark of OA and is predominantly caused by basic calcium crystals formed due to an imbalance of the pyrophosphate pathway. Sortilin is a transmembrane protein that contributes to vascular calcification in atherosclerosis by externalizing alkaline phosphatase (ALP)-containing vesicles. Calcification in atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis has been associated with cellular senescence. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential role of sortilin and senescence in osteoarthritis-dependent cartilage calcification. Osteoarthritic cartilage from human knee joints was collected after joint replacement, and samples were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and quantitative RT-PCR analysis. Human chondrocytes were treated with osteogenic medium for up to 21 days to induce calcification. Western blots for sortilin and ALP, as well as an ALP activity assay, were performed. Human chondrocytes were treated with mitomycin C to induce senescence, and sortilin expression was quantified at the protein and gene levels. Sections of knee joints from a murine model of osteoarthritis were stained for sortilin and p16 and analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Treatment of wild-type chondrocytes using an osteogenic medium similar to human chondrocytes was performed. Osteoarthritic cartilage from mouse and human knee joints showed an increased number of sortilin and p16-positive chondrocytes compared to healthy cartilage. This observation was corroborated by increased gene expression of sortilin and p16 in mild and moderate osteoarthritic cartilage samples. To investigate the mechanism of sortilin regulation, human chondrocytes were treated with osteogenic medium to induce calcification. Sortilin protein levels and expression were increased after 7 days of stimulation, whereas ALP levels and activity were upregulated after 21 days of stimulation. Similar observations were made in a murine osteoarthritis model. Mechanistically, senescent chondrocytes induced by mitomycin C showed an upregulation of sortilin and ALP gene expression compared to non-senescent chondrocytes. Our data indicate that sortilin and ALP are upregulated during cartilage calcification, which is associated with chondrocyte senescence and thus might contribute to the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis. Cellular senescence seems to induce sortilin expression.