Excessive mechanical stretch‑mediated osteoblasts promote the catabolism and apoptosis of chondrocytes via the Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway
- Cheng-Xian Song
- Sheng-Yao Liu
- Wen-Ting Zhu
- Shao-Yong Xu
- Guo-Xin Ni
Affiliations: Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510515, P.R. China, Department of Orthopedics, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510260, P.R. China, Department of Pharmacy, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510150, P.R. China
- Published online on: June 17, 2021 https://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2021.12232
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Excessive biomechanical loading is considered an important cause of osteoarthritis. Although the mechanical responses of chondrocytes and osteoblasts have been investigated, their communication during mechanical loading and the underlying molecular mechanisms are not yet fully known. The present study investigated the effects of excessive mechanically stretched osteoblasts on the metabolism and apoptosis of chondrocytes, and also assessed the involvement of the Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway. In the present study, rat chondrocytes and osteoblasts were subjected to mechanical tensile strain, and an indirect chondrocyte‑osteoblast co‑culture model was established. Reverse transcription‑quantitative PCR and western blotting were performed to determine the expression levels of genes and proteins of interest. An ELISA was performed to investigate the levels of cytokines, including matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 13, MMP 3, interleukin‑6 (IL‑6) and prostaglandin E2 (PG E2), released from osteoblasts. Flow cytometry was performed to detect the apoptosis of chondrocytes exposed to stretched osteoblast conditioned culture medium. The levels of MMP 13, IL‑6 and PG E2 increased significantly in the supernatants of stretched osteoblasts compared with the un‑stretched group. By contrast, the mRNA expression levels of Collagen 1a and alkaline phosphatase were significantly decreased in osteoblasts subjected to mechanical stretch compared with the un‑stretched group. The mRNA expression level of Collagen 2a was significantly decreased, whereas the expression levels of MMP 13 and a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin‑like motifs 5 were significantly increased in chondrocytes subjected to mechanical stretch compared with the un‑stretched group. In the co‑culture model, the results indicated that excessive mechanically stretched osteoblasts induced the catabolism and apoptosis of chondrocytes, which was partly inhibited by Wnt inhibitor XAV‑939. The results of the present study demonstrated that excessive mechanical stretch led to chondrocyte degradation and inhibited osteoblast osteogenic differentiation; furthermore, excessive mechanically stretched osteoblasts induced the catabolism and apoptosis of chondrocytes via the Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway.