Evidence that responses of articular chondrocytes to interleukin-1 and basic fibroblast growth factor are not mediated by protein kinase C

K. I. Hulkower, H. I. Georgescu, C. H. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


After exposure to human recombinant interleukin-1 (hrIL-1), chondrocytes increase their synthesis of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and neutral metalloproteinases (NMPs). This response, known as chondrocyte activation, is also elicited by partially purified preparations of rabbit synovial IL-1, known as 'chondrocyte activating factors' (CAF). CAF activates chondrocytes more strongly than does hrIL-1, probably because it contains additional growth factors. Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is one such factor, although CAF also contains others which modulate the activation of chondrocytes. Chondrocyte activation by hrIL-1 is strongly potentiated by bFGF and phorbol myristate acetate (PMA). A series of experiments was conducted to examine the possible role of protein kinase C (PKC) in mediating these effects. Inhibitors of PKC partially blocked induction of NMPs by CAF and completely suppressed the potentiating effect of PMA. However, induction by 10 units of hrIL-1/ml and potentiation by bFGF were not affected by these inhibitors. Furthermore, cells whose PKC had been down-regulated by prolonged exposure to PMA remained responsive to IL-1. Surprisingly, inhibitors of PKC greatly increased the amounts of NMPs produced in response to a low dose (1 unit/ml) of hr-IL-1. These inhibitors also enhanced the synthesis of PGE2 by cells responding to 1 and 10 units of hrIL-1/ml. Phosphorylation of the 80 kDa substrate for PKC was augmented by PMA and CAF, but not by hrIL-1 or bFGF. Moreover, Western-blotting techniques, which confirmed translocation of PKC in response to PMA and CAF, did not detect translocation in cells treated with hrIL-1 or bFGF. Western blotting also demonstrated the presence of PKC isoenzyme type III (α), but not types I (γ) or II (β). These data argue that PKC does not mediate the effects of hrIl-1 or bFGF in chondrocytes. However, CAF contains additional substances which activate this enzyme and whose effects may in part be mediated by PKC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-162
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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