Arthritis Res Ther 2012 Oct 4;14(5):R207. Epub 2012 Oct 4.
Introduction: Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) regulates articular cartilage homeostasis. During osteoarthritis (OA), the anabolic responses of chondrocytes to IGF-I are likely to be prevented by the enhanced production of IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs), especially IGFBP-3. The aim of this study is to evaluate whether the architectural transcription factor high mobility group A1 (HMGA1) influences IGFBP-3 overexpression in vitro, in cultured chondrocytic cell lines, and ex vivo, in human osteoarthritic cartilage compared to healthy human cartilage controls.
Methods: Quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) was performed to assess the relative transcript levels of HMGA1 and IGFBP-3 in vitro, in the human chondrocytic cell lines T/C-28a4 and C-28/I2. An electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and transient transfection assays were performed to investigate the HMGA1-IGFBP-3 gene interaction. Samples of articular cartilage were harvested from osteoarthritic patients and controls and analyzed by qRT-PCR for HMGA1 and IGFBP-3 mRNA levels.
Results: A parallelism between HMGA1 protein levels and IGFBP-3 gene expression has been observed in T/C-28a4 and C-28/I2 cells. The interaction of HMGA1 with the IGFBP-3 gene promoter has been demonstrated by EMSA and ChIP. In transient transfections, IGFBP-3 promoter activity increased in cells overexpressing HMGA1 and decreased in cells pretreated with siRNA detected against HMGA1. IGFBP-3 mRNA expression was higher in cartilage from patients with OA, where the increased expression of IGFBP-3 closely paralleled the increased expression of HMGA1 mRNA.
Conclusions: Our observations indicate that increased HMGA1 expression in human chondrocytes is associated with increased expression of IGFBP-3. It is tempting to speculate that, through the regulation of IGFBP3 expression, HMGA1 may act as a pathogenetic factor for OA.